This article was written by Jack Anderson and Tim Wells
The Government has announced a wide range of measures designed to increase investment in technology solutions to reduce carbon emissions and provide reliable affordable energy.
Emissions Reduction and New Investments under the Technology Investment Roadmap
The Government will provide $1.6 billion over ten years from 2021-22 to incentivise private investment in technologies identified in the Government's Technology Investment Roadmap and Low Emissions Technology Statements, grow new export industries, create jobs and reduce emissions. The relevant measures include:
- $1.2 billion over ten years from 2021-22 to create a technology co-investment facility that supports the development of regional hydrogen hubs, carbon capture, use and storage technologies, very low cost soil carbon measurement and new agricultural feed technologies, a high-integrity carbon offset scheme in the Indo-Pacific region, and support the implementation of the Technology Investment Roadmap and Low Emissions Technology Statements;
- $279.9 million over ten years from 2021-22 to establish the below baseline crediting mechanism recommended by the King Review and help realise abatement opportunities in large industrial facilities;
- Establishing a $50 million venture capital financing function within the Australian Renewable Energy Agency to support Australian clean tech innovation;
- $26.4 million over four years to support Australian businesses and supply chains to reduce their energy costs and improve productivity through the uptake of more energy efficient industrial equipment and business practices;
- $14.3 million to reduce costs and streamline the reporting requirements for businesses covered by the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Scheme; and
- $10.4 million over four years to expand the range of certifications offered by the Climate Active program and ensure it remains a best practice standard and certification scheme for Australian businesses looking to voluntarily reduce emissions.
The Government will also provide $50 million over ten years from 2021-22 to establish an early stage seed capital financing function within the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.
Improving Energy Affordability and Reliability
The Government is acting to maintain affordability, reliability and security in the electricity market, including by undertaking the following initiatives:
- a $24.9 million package to assist new gas generators to become hydrogen-ready;
- up to $30 million for early works on Australian Industrial Power's Port Kembla gas generator project;
- $30 million to support a big battery and the roll-out of microgrids in remote Indigenous communities, as part of a future Northern Territory Commonwealth bilateral agreement on energy and emissions reduction;
- up to $76.9 million to secure the Portland aluminium smelter's participation in the Reliability and Emergency Reserve Trader scheme;
- up to $19.3 million to support the deployment of a renewable energy microgrid incorporating hydrogen in the Daintree in Northern Queensland; and
- $34.3 million to implement the Government's consumer-focused reform agenda including post-2025 electricity market reforms and expand the role of the Australian Energy Infrastructure Commissioner (formerly the National Wind Farm Commissioner) to also resolve transmission line concerns in communities.
Australia's Gas-Fired Recovery
The Budget allocated funding to a range of initiatives to drive Australia's "gas-fired recovery". These include:
- up to $38.7 million to support critical gas infrastructure projects to alleviate the forecast gas supply shortfalls;
- $5.6 million to strengthen the Government's gas system planning framework through delivery of the National Gas Infrastructure Plan;
- $6.2 million to design, consult and implement reforms to accelerate the development of the Wallumbilla Gas Supply Hub;
- $4.6 million to develop initiatives that empower gas reliant businesses to negotiate competitive outcomes in their gas supply agreements; and
- $3.5 million to design and implement a framework to facilitate Commonwealth support for medium to long-term gas infrastructure.
Oil Stocks and Refining Capacity in Australia
The Budget also sets out measures to further strengthen Australia's long-term fuel security, including:
- a refinery production payment to help maintain Australia's refining capability;
- support to assist the refiners to conduct infrastructure upgrades, subject to consultation with industry; and
- $50.7 million to establish a new fuel security framework, including for the implementation and monitoring of the minimum stockholding obligation and the production payment, ensuring industry complies.