Addressing the COP26 Summit, Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor said that domestic investment and international partnership were the most effective ways to achieve the targets.
“We need to harness great innovators, engineers and enterprising organisations to bring low emissions solutions to the market at costs that are attractive to investors,” Mr Taylor said.
“We look forward to working with international partners bilaterally and through existing forums to achieve the breakthroughs and our technology stretch goals.”
The technology-led approach aims to reduce emissions while avoiding additional costs to the economy.
Ultra-low-cost solar was added to the existing five priority technologies, including clean hydrogen and carbon capture and storage (CCS).
“Getting solar power down to less than $15 per megawatt-hour – a third of today’s cost – will be critical to reducing electricity sector emissions, but also in unlocking the potential of other low emissions technologies like clean hydrogen,” Mr Taylor said.
Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA) chief executive officer Andrew McConville said the Low Emissions Technology Statement was a non-disruptive way for Australia to meet net-zero commitments.
“The Government’s roadmap shows the way forward to a net-zero future and by investing and encouraging new technical expertise we can get there and not disrupt the Australian way of life,” Mr McConville said.
‘’It’s vital we meet our commitment to net-zero emissions at the same time as we continue to see the economy and jobs grow, and ensure we remain prosperous.
“Technology is already being used to reduce emissions in Australia and our regions, but further investment and advancement will help accelerate that.”
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), which was re-funded as part of the $1.9 billion investment supported by LETS 2020, welcomed the latest statement.
Arena chief executive officer Darren Miller said it would help ARENA achieve its own strategic priorities outlined in its Investment Plan.
“ARENA’s considerable number of projects within solar, hydrogen and other enabling technologies means we’re already in the fast lane and able to provide significant expertise in delivering priority technologies and stretch goals presented in the LETS,” Mr Miller said.
He said ARENA recognised the importance of ultra-low cost solar and had announced a new target of ‘Solar 30 30 30’ which aims to improve solar module efficiency to 30 per cent and reduce solar module installation costs to 30 cents per watt, installed by 2030.
“Solar and wind are now mature technologies that can deliver bulk energy at costs low enough to justify their deployment at scale,” Mr Miller said.
“However, many of the harder-to-abate sectors need electricity at even cheaper rates than is possible with today’s technology, which is why the 30-30-30 target for ultra-low cost solar is so important to achieve our net-zero emission target.”
Mr Taylor said increased Government investment in early-stage technology would help the country reach net-zero targets, with an additional $1.7 billion in funding committed since the first statement across international partnerships, clean hydrogen industrial hubs and more efficient ways to measure carbon in soils.
“Over the next decade, we will invest at least $20 billion investment in low-emissions technology, which is expected to unlock at least $80 billion of total private and public investment,” Mr Taylor said.
“Up to $565 million was dedicated to building international partnerships, starting with the new Australia-Republic of Korea Low and Zero Emissions Technology Partnership.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the partnership would help to increase adoption of low emissions technologies.
“Together, we share the ambition of accelerating the development and commercialisation of low and zero-emissions technologies, both existing and emerging, to achieve cost parity with high emitting technologies as soon as possible,” Mr Morrison said.
As part of the partnership, the Republic of Korea will support research on advancing technologies and trade systems for hydrogen supply and low emissions steel and iron ore, and CCS as early priorities.
LETS 2021 included enabling infrastructure as a new technology category, which focussed on building the infrastructure needed to help deploy priority and emerging low emissions technologies including battery charging and hydrogen refuelling stations and a digital grid to support solar and wind generation.
After the COP26 Summit, Australia established a $1 billion Low Emissions Technology Commercialisation Fund, which included $500 million of new capital for the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and $500 million from private sector investors.
Mr Taylor said the fund addressed an investment gap in the development of new low-emissions technology.
“The fund will support Australian innovators to develop their intellectual property and grow their businesses in Australia,” Mr Taylor said.
“It will address a gap in the Australian market, where currently small, complex, technology-focused start-ups can be considered to be too risky to finance.”