Towards a low emissions future

Government releases national strategy to meet climate change goals

23 SEPTEMBER 2020
The government has released its Low Emissions Technology Statement, best understood as the national strategy to meet Australia's climate change goals. To summarise, the government’s approach is to focus investment in a handful of technologies that, should they prove successful, could reduce Australia’s emissions profile markedly.  They are shifting governmental focus on policies and programs, in what they hope is an approach that costs taxpayers only indirectly and does not require any significant societal change. 

The Statement outlines five priority technologies and economic stretch goals to make new technologies as cost-effective as existing alternatives:

  • Clean hydrogen – under $2 per kilogram
  • Energy storage ‒ electricity from storage for firming under $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 ‒ CO₂ compression, hub transport, and storage under $20 per tonne of CO₂
  • Soil carbon ‒ under $3 per hectare per year.

There are several noteworthy, albeit small, references that the refrigeration and air conditioning industry should note.  These include a continuing focus on both energy efficiency and demand response, noting that for demand response the Government advises that it should not, “impact[ing] on the service the energy provides.”  The statement also lists enabling technologies and activities to support these aims such as:

  • smart meters, smart appliances, energy management systems and better sensors that allow consumers to make wiser choices about how they use energy and other carbon-intensive products
  • inverters, power conversion and demand management systems that allow every device that is connected to the electricity system to operate efficiently as part of an integrated system
  • broader enabling policies (such as minimum standards, building codes and consumer information and benchmarking), helping to overcome specific barriers to energy efficiency.

There is also a couple of teasers that offer possible avenues for further development but are left unelucidated with no details.  While they demonstrate that inputs from Refrigerants Australia and others were considered, they provide no certainty.  These include:

  • a reference to ensuring uptake of “low carbon building materials, [including] . . . new refrigerants.”
  • Investments where Australia has a defined comparative advantage or research edge, building on our reputation as a reliable supplier of . . .  food” .

These are the highlights from the range of materials released yesterday.  If RA members or industry have any questions please contact Dr Greg Picker, RA Executive Director.