Low Emissions Technology Statement: Roadmap Reactions

Emissions Technology Statement

Australia’s Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor released the Morrison Government’s First Low Emissions Technology Statement yesterday – and what wasn’t in it was as controversial as some of what is.

The Statement was developed as part of the Morrison Government’s Technology Investment Roadmap process. It has five priority technologies the Morrison Government wants to see cost-effective as existing technologies. The technologies and stretch goals are:

  • Hydrogen production under $2 per kilogram; which as SQ’s Ronald recently pointed out is likely doable.
  • Long duration energy storage (6-8 hours or more) dispatched at less than $100 per MWh.
  • Low carbon materials – low emissions steel production under $900 per tonne, low emissions aluminium under $2,700 per tonne.
  • Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)  – CO₂ compression, hub transport, and storage under $20 per tonne of CO₂. CCS is pretty much just a high-tech way of sweeping dirt under the rug (where it will hopefully stay).
  • Soil carbon measurement under $3 per hectare per year.

Where’s Wind And Solar Power?

The only mention of wind and solar power in Minister Taylor’s release regarding the Low Emissions Technology Statement was in relation to the energy storage focus; which he said will enable reliable, *firmed* wind and solar at prices around the average wholesale electricity price of today.

The Statement says:

“Existing, proven technologies like coal, gas, solar and wind will play important roles in Australia’s energy future, but are not the focus of the Roadmap. The Government will continue to invest in mature technologies where there is a clear market failure, like a shortage of dispatchable generation, or where these investments secure jobs in key industries.”

Here’s some of what’s been said following the announcement.

ARENA – Yay!

It’s understandable the Australian Renewable Energy Agency would be upbeat, considering it’s looking like it has dodged a bullet through recently announced extra funding. But that funding is also coming with a sting in its tail – dabbling in fossil fuels.

“There are a number of priority technology stretch goals and emerging and enabling technologies outlined in the Low Emissions Technology Statement where ARENA can hit the ground running and build on our considerable body of work and knowledge,” said ARENA CEO Darren Miller. “Continuing this momentum is important for the market and for the Australian economy.”

Clean Energy Council – Shows Promise, But..

While acknowledging the roadmap has some “clear hits”, the Clean Energy Council lamented a missed opportunity in not prioritising increased and better use of Australia’s wind and solar resources, which it says can have the greatest impact in decarbonising Australia’s energy system and economy.

“It is therefore surprising and disappointing that the roadmap fails to address the range of barriers to their accelerated deployment,” said CEC Chief Executive Kane Thornton.

Climate Council – Good, Bad And Ugly

Like the CEC, the Climate Council saw some positives – energy storage and soil carbon. It wasn’t impressed by the prospect of hydrogen produced with fossil fuels and carbon capture and storage.

“Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is expensive and won’t be a commercial proposition without a massive carbon tax. Hydrogen made with gas and coal requires CCS and will be inordinately expensive. These technologies are aimed at prolonging the life of fossil fuels in our energy system,” said Climate Councillor Greg Bourne.

ACOSS – Polluting And Expensive Distractions

The Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS) expressed concern over no clear link to an emissions reduction target and some of the priority technologies.

“While there are many worthwhile technologies included in the roadmap, investing in technologies that extend the life of polluting coal and gas will slow our transition to net zero emissions, worsening the climate crisis, which disproportionately impacts people on low incomes,” said ACOSS CEO Cassandra Goldie.

Greens – Corporate Capture And Profit

Leader of the Australian Greens Adam Bandt stated the roadmap “will take us off a cliff”.

“People across the country are demanding a rapid transition to renewable energy, not just putting solar panels next to new gas wells,” he said. ” This approach doubles down on last century’s technology, all to suit the coal and gas corporations whose fingerprints are all over this roadmap.”

Friends Of The Earth – Fail

FOE says the roadmap will lead the country towards catastrophic climate impacts.

“The Morrison government’s refusal to tackle the climate crisis means state and Territory governments must show greater leadership to rollout renewable energy and deliver Emissions Reduction Targets,” stated FOE’s Leigh Ewbank.

Mark Butler – Roadmap To Nowhere

Labor’s shadow minister for climate change and energy Mark Butler also said stuff.

“What Australia has desperately needed is a genuine energy policy to drive investment in affordable, reliable, clean power,” stated Mr. Butler. “Scott Morrison refuses to deliver a genuine energy policy and he still refuses to commit to net zero emissions by 2050. Australian households and businesses will be left paying the price for his inaction.”

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

Comments

  1. ALLI GRIMISON says

    Dear Michael,

    I’d like to reference your article below as an example of how appalling my local member is. Given the current energy / gas debate, I just wanted to know if this all still hold true?

    https://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/craig-kelly-renewables-coal-mb0622/

    I can’t imagine much has changed, but just wanted to confirm.

    Thank you
    Alli Grimison

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