Australia commits $539m to green energy projects as it works towards net-zero emissions
Australia has committed $539 million towards greener energy, as it works towards net-zero emissions.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison today pledged $275 million for four new hydrogen hubs to create the clean, renewable energy.
Hydrogen is the most common chemical in the universe.
It can be produced as a gas or liquid, or made part of other materials, and has many uses such as fuel for transport or heating, a way to store electricity, or a raw material in industrial processes, according to the government.
Mr Morrison says he wants Australia to become a world leader in the technology.
“The hydrogen that can fire up furnaces, that used to be done by other forms of fossil fuels – they can run those trucks, run long-distance transport, and do all the things we need it to do,” he said.
“The world is moving to a new energy economy: a net-zero economy when it comes to energy, and Australia will play a huge part in that.”
Mr Morrison said the hydrogen hubs would connect hydrogen generation with industries that will utilise it.
The nation will also spend $263.9 million on carbon capture and storage.
That means capturing harmful carbon emissions and storing them under the ground rather than releasing them into the atmosphere.
Mr Morrison said even in a net-zero emission economy, carbon emissions will still be produced in particular industries, even as far in the future as 2050.
“Planes will still fly and I don’t know anyone yet who is going to get on a plane that is not being flown with fuel,” he said.
“So there will be emissions in the future and there will be in 2050, and carbon capture use and storage is essential in ensuring that that can be accommodated.”
He pointed to the Gorgon gas project in Western Australia as an example of one of the world’s largest sites for carbon capture use and storage, which is already in operation.
Mr Morrison emphasised Australia will meet its greenhouse gas reduction targets without additional taxes.
The Australian government is committed to five priority technologies as it works towards a zero net emissions future, Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor said.
They are stored carbon, low emissions from aluminium and steel, hydrogen, and carbon capture and storage.
“It is not about imposing taxes, it is not about eliminating industries, it is about creating jobs and it is about harnessing the smarts, capability, and skills of Australians right across this great country,” Mr Taylor said.
Hydrogen has “enormous potential” in bringing down Australia’s carbon emissions, Mr Taylor said.
He said it will be used not only for electricity production but also heat and “an industrial feedstock for critical products like fertiliser which puts food on our tables every day”.
Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden will pledge to cut his country’s greenhouse gas emissions at least in half by 2030 as he convenes a virtual climate summit with 40 world leaders including Mr Morrison, according to three people with knowledge of the White House plans.
The 50 per cent target would nearly double the nation’s previous commitment and help the Biden administration prod other countries for ambitious emissions cuts as well.
The proposal would require dramatic changes in the power and transportation sectors, including significant increases in renewable energy such as wind and solar power and steep cuts in emissions from fossil fuels such as coal and oil.
The non-binding but symbolically important pledge is a key element of the two-day summit, which begins this week as world leaders gather online to share strategies to combat climate change.