Investing in low-emissions technology, rather than taxation, is the only way for the world to cut emissions while ensuring economic prosperity can continue.
That is the key message to be delivered by Energy Minister Angus Taylor in a speech to the National Press Club in Canberra on Tuesday.
“The only pathway to global emissions reduction while strengthening prosperity is through developing low-emissions technologies at lower costs than higher emitting alternatives,” he will say.
The government has already announced broad commitments to hydrogen, storage, low-carbon steel and aluminium, carbon capture and storage and soil carbon.
But on Tuesday, Mr Taylor will outline a set of “stretch goals” – the point at which new technologies are considered to become competitive with existing alternatives.
* long-duration energy storage dispatched at under $100 per megawatt-hour
* carbon dioxide compression, transport and storage under $20 a tonne
* low-emissions steel production under $900 a tonne and aluminium under $2700 a tonne
* Soil carbon measurement for less than $3/ha a year
The storage goal would enable reliable wind and solar at prices at or below the current average wholesale electricity price.
The soil carbon measure would make it much more economical for farmers to launch their own projects.
The government says it will keep a “watching brief” on the development of small modular nuclear reactors and early-stage technology such as direct air capture systems.
The plan says mature technologies – such as coal, gas, solar and wind – would only receive government investment “where there is a clear market failure, like a shortage of dispatchable generation or where these investments secure jobs in key industries”.
But Mr Taylor says the four sources will “play important roles in Australia’s energy future”.
Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel will chair the Technology Investment Advisory Council, to advise the government on progress.
The government expects to invest more than $18 billion in new energy technologies over the decade to 2030.
However it is aiming to leverage at least a three-fold, or up to five-fold, co-investment from the private sector and other levels of government – delivering at least $50 billion of new investment over the decade.
The government’s plan will be taken to the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow scheduled for November 2021.
States, territories, business groups and farmers are urging the coalition to also adopt a target of net zero emissions by 2050.
But the government will only say it has a broad aim to achieve it some time in the second half of the century.
Australian Associated Press