The Federal Government’s commitment to more than $500m in funding for the hydrogen industry and Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) has been welcomed by Australia’s peak body for electricity generators and retailers.
Australian Energy Council Chief Executive, Sarah McNamara, said, “Reports of an upcoming budget allocation of over $500m for hydrogen hubs and CCS is a sensible move in order to progress the long and hard challenge toward an economy-wide net zero.
“The AEC committed to net zero by 2050 in June 2020 and we support and encourage the development of the hydrogen industry.
“To date, the majority of Australia’s carbon focus has been in the electricity sector, whose emissions are declining rapidly.
“Yet two-thirds of Australia’s emissions come from elsewhere, and these are still going up. This is where research supported by government now needs to be directed,” said Ms McNamara.
“While it may be some time before it is commercially viable, hydrogen shows potential to remove emissions from heavy transport, cement, steel and heat sources. We need new technologies in these sectors in order to get to net zero.
“There is a role for government funding in early-stage technologies, so this decision will assist greatly in spurring innovation in the hydrogen industry,” said Ms McNamara.
“While CCS has not proved to be as useful in electricity as was once hoped, it still may assist other sectors that collectively emit much more.
“CCS may also be useful in making hydrogen without emissions. While the scale of its potential use remains uncertain, it’s certainly worth spending some money to find out.
“For industries that already have mature technology to reduce emissions, as is the case for renewable electricity production, the task should be left to market forces and private sector investment.”
About the Australian Energy Council
The Council represents 21 major electricity and downstream natural gas businesses operating in the competitive wholesale and retail energy markets. These businesses collectively generate the overwhelming majority of electricity in Australia, sell gas and electricity to over 10 million homes and businesses, and are major investors in renewable energy generation.