The energy industry has welcomed the Federal Government's latest plan to use technology to reduce climate emissions.
The Australian Petroleum Production Exploration Association said natural gas had an essential role to play in Australia's future.
Origin Energy this week announced it was resuming testing of its shale gas well in the Beetaloo, WA.
APPEA chief executive Andrew McConville said both in Australia and across Asia, natural gas is a lower emissions energy source that can see the emissions intensity of electricity generation fall, particularly on the east coast," Mr McConville said.
"Natural gas-fired generators are flexible technologies which can be easily ramped up and down to meet demand, making them complementary with intermittent renewable energy.
"Alongside this opportunity at home, exporting natural gas as LNG is allowing our Asian trading partners to reduce emissions in their economies. Reducing global emissions is a global effort, and as an energy exporter Australia is doing its part through many channels."
Mr McConville said the statement, from Energy Minister Angus Taylor, included a range of technologies, including carbon capture and storage (greenhouse gas storage) and hydrogen which he said was an important recognition that these technologies can achieve large-scale abatement while providing significant economic opportunity.
"These are areas where Australia's existing comparative advantage and experience in natural gas development and exports provide significant opportunities for the further development of these technologies," Mr McConville said.
"Importantly, these technologies are large scale, capital intensive and will lead to enduring emissions reductions. It will be important that the focus on these technologies through the annual Statement process is similarly enduring.
"The oil and gas industry's focus on innovation and technological development means it is ideally placed to continue a constructive role in emissions reduction as Australia moves towards a lower carbon future."
Yesterday Minister Taylor released the government's first Low Emissions Technology Statement.
The statement outlines five priority technologies and economic stretch goals to make new technologies as cost-effective as existing technologies.
- Hydrogen production under $2 per kilogram.
- Long duration energy storage (6-8 hours or more) dispatched at less than $100 per MWh - this will enable reliable, firmed wind and solar at prices around the average wholesale electricity price of today.
- Low carbon materials - low emissions steel production under $900 per tonne, low emissions aluminium under $2,700 per tonne.
- CCS - CO compression, hub transport, and storage under $20 per tonne of CO.
- Soil carbon measurement under $3 per hectare per year - a 90% reduction from today's measurement costs and would transform the economics of soil carbon projects for Australian farmers.
The Government will now commence eleven key actions:
- Establishing a Technology Investment Framework to prioritise the Government's investments in new technologies.
- Investing $1.9 billion in a new energy technology package; establishing Australia's first regional hydrogen export hub, a King Review Co-Investment Fund, a CCS Deployment Fund and a Future Fuels Fund to support new and emerging technologies.
- Finalising new or revised Emissions Reduction Fund methods to support CCS and soil carbon within 12 months.
- Commencing a soil carbon innovation challenge to rapidly reduce the cost of measuring the impact of new farming practices on soil carbon sequestration.
- Introducing legislative reforms to ARENA and the CEFC to give their boards flexibility to respond to the Government's priorities.
- Requiring key agencies (ARENA, CEFC and the CER) to focus on accelerating the priority technologies.
- Directing key agencies to publicly report on what action they are taking to accelerate the priority technologies.
- Establishing a permanent Technology Investment Advisory Council, including the Chairs of key agencies, to advise on the development of the second Annual Statement. Annual Statements are the mechanism the Government will use to guide, track and measure the impact of our investments in new energy technologies.
- Expanding Australia's international collaboration with trading partners.
- Conducting a review of legislative or regulatory barriers to technology uptake as part of the second annual Low Emissions Technology Statement.
- Completing the development of Australia's Long Term Emissions Reduction Strategy before COP26.
"The Government's plan has three key focuses - lower emissions, lower costs and more jobs," said Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor.
"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.
"If these technologies achieve widespread deployment globally, they will significantly reduce emissions from energy, transport, agriculture and heavy industry. These sectors account for 90 per cent of global emissions and emit 45 billion tonnes each year.
"The Government expects to invest more than $18 billion in low emissions technologies over the decade to 2030, in order to drive at least $50 billion of new investment over the next ten years."
The Low Emissions Technology Statement is available on the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources website: http://industry.gov.au/LETS2020