The Australian Government has proposed a plan to provide $13bn (A$18bn) of #funds for power technology innovation over ten years.
Australian #energy minister Angus Taylor announced his technology roadmap on Monday ahead of the country’s annual budget. In its foreword, the minister wrote: “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.
Taylor said in his announcement: “The government’s plan has three key focuses – lower emissions, lower costs and more jobs. Getting the technologies of the future right will support 130,000 jobs by 2030 and avoid in the order of 250 million tonnes of emissions in Australia by 2040.”
The plan would use Australian state bodies to distribute investment to power projects coordinated by a new Technology Investment Advisory Council. The allocation of funds for CCS projects has already caused significant opposition.
Two political parties have said they may block the roadmap when it reaches the senate. They have claimed the bill could take funds away from renewable investment, for CCS in empty oil and gas fields and soil sequestration.
Of the proposed funds, $9.4bn (A$13bn) would go toward the Clean Energy Finance Corp and $1.01bn (A$1.4bn) toward the #Australian #enewable Energy #Agency (#ARENA). These agencies were originally prohibited from funding CCS, though the new #plan would change this.
Alongside introducing the roadmap, the government pledged to use regulation, legislation and internal collaboration to effect change in energy markets.
Morrison cools on coal while favouring gas
Over the past week, the government has made speeches announcing funding for renewables and emphasising the role of natural gas in decarbonisation, and backing growth of a hydrogen industry.
The roadmap sets the aim of producing #hydrogen for less than AUD2/kg and establishing a hydrogen hub. This would help it pivot the country’s gas industry toward producing more blue hydrogen for #export. The country currently exports large amounts of coal to #East #Asia, and an increase in hydrogen sales would balance out the fall of coal.
Aside from this, former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has called some aspects of the plan “crazy”. He has criticised the plan’s belief in cheap gas prices while ignoring the falling cost of renewables.
The country has also pushed toward expanding its natural gas production as a method of decarbonisation. Last week, Prime #Minister Scott Morrison outlined plans for five new gas fields and support for new gas pipelines. He has also supported federal assistance in #building a new gas-fired #power #plant since there are no current plans from #power generators to fill an upcoming hole in generation.
Morrison previously favoured coal development, famously presenting a lump of coal in parliament and telling his opposition: “Don’t be scared, it won’t hurt you”.
Power technology #investment still missing Australian net-zero commitment
Last week, Morrison pledged a further $1.16bn (AUD1.62bn) of funding for ARENA over ten years. This would fund grants and loans for investment in innovation of low-carbon power generation.