Fact sheet

Reducing our emissions through technology

Fact sheet about reducing our emissions through technology.

 

Reducing our emissions through technology

Our plan

Australia has a plan to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

Our Long-Term Emissions Reduction Plan (PDF 17.9 MB) focuses on the technology that will help Australia cut emissions while creating jobs and growing our economy.

We will help our regional industries and communities seize economic opportunities in new and traditional markets.

Emissions

Greenhouse gas emissions lead to warming of the atmosphere and are released into the air by activities such as burning fossil fuels, land clearing and agricultural practices.

Net zero emissions means for any greenhouse gas emissions that are released, an equivalent amount is taken out of the atmosphere.

Australia has made good progress reducing emissions so far. Our emissions are about 20% below 2005 levels.

This continuing decline in emissions is being driven by Australia’s world-leading adoption of renewable energy sources, like solar power.

Investing in the future

We’re investing more than $20 billion in low emissions technologies between now and 2030.

This will lead to more than $80 billion total investment (through public and private sources) and support an estimated 160,000 jobs.

For more read the Technology Investment Roadmap (PDF, 6.7MB).

Low emissions technologies

Australia has an abundance of natural resources and the skilled workforce to be a world leader in low emissions technologies.

We’re prioritising 6 technologies to help us achieve a low emissions future:

Clean hydrogen

–    a clean fuel for homes, vehicles and industry.

Ultra low-cost solar

–    making electricity cheaper so that our industries remain competitive.

Energy storage

–    storing large amounts of electricity is key to ensuring it is available when and where it is needed.

Low emissions materials

–    industry will reduce emissions by producing steel and aluminium with low emissions technologies.

Carbon capture and storage

–    a proven, safe technology that can permanently store emissions from heavy industries.

Affordable soil carbon measurement

–    more farmers are taking steps to store carbon in their soil, making soils healthier and increasing productivity.

The Low Emissions Technology Statement outlines how we’re supporting these technologies to be as affordable as existing higher emissions technologies, to encourage their uptake.

The benefits

This next generation of low emissions technologies brings with it enormous potential and benefits, including:

-    Reducing emissions

-    Lowering our energy costs

-    Creating new jobs for Australians

-    Boosting our economy.
 

 

Fact sheet

Net zero: jobs and investment

Fact sheet about net zero, jobs and investment.

Net zero: jobs and investment

Our plan

Australia has a plan to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

Our Long-Term Emissions Reduction Plan focuses on the technology that will help Australia cut emissions while creating jobs and growing our economy.

We are prioritising 6 technologies:

  • Clean hydrogen
  • Ultra low-cost solar
  • Energy storage
  • Low emission materials
  • Carbon capture and storage
  • Affordable soil carbon measurement

Investment in these technologies will create thousands of jobs and give Australia the competitive edge in new global markets.

Our investment

$35 billion
Invested in renewable energy through public and private sources since 2017.

$9.0 billion
Public and private investment in renewable energy in 2020 alone.

$80 billion
Our $20 billion investment in low emissions technology over the next decade is expected to unlock at least $80 billion of public and private investment.

$1.2 billion
Our investment in the hydrogen industry, including $464 million for Clean Hydrogen Industrial Hubs.

How we invest
We’re supporting low emissions projects and technologies in different ways.

610 renewable energy projects
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has provided $1.81 billion in grant funding to more than 610 projects.

220 clean energy projects
The Clean Energy Finance Corporation is the world’s largest ‘green bank,’ established to invest $10 billion in clean energy on behalf of the Australian Government. It has made investment commitments of more than $9.5 billion through more than 220 large-scale transactions since 2013.

1050 emissions reduction projects
The Clean Energy Regulator has registered around 1050 emissions reduction projects through the Emissions Reduction Fund.

You can see where we are investing in emissions reduction technologies by visiting the Technology Investment Roadmap.
 
The benefits
Australia’s abundant natural resources and investment in technology give us the edge in becoming a world-leader in low emissions energy production, such as clean hydrogen and solar.

More than 100,000 new direct jobs are expected to be created by 2050 across Australia

Hydrogen

  • Up to 16,000 new jobs created by 2050 from clean hydrogen exports.
  • Up to 13,000 new jobs created during construction of renewable hydrogen energy infrastructure.
  • Building our hydrogen hubs across regional Australia will grow the industry and create jobs.

Mining and heavy industry:

  • Up to 52,000 new jobs created from producing and exporting the minerals needed for clean energy technologies.
  • Up to 18,000 new jobs created from producing low emissions steel and alumina.

Download the Net zero: jobs and investment fact sheet (PDF, 164Kb)

Fact sheet

Clean hydrogen: a low emissions fuel

Fact sheet about clean hydrogen.

Clean hydrogen: a low emissions fuel

Fuel of the future
Clean hydrogen is a future low emissions fuel for homes, vehicles and industry.

With plenty of land, solar and wind energy, stable carbon storage sites, and expertise as an established energy exporter, we have the potential to make clean hydrogen for our own use and to supply the world.

Clean hydrogen is a critical part of our plan to get to net zero emissions by 2050. That’s why the government is prioritising bringing down the cost of hydrogen production to $2 a kilo.

At this price, hydrogen becomes competitive with traditional fuels for uses such as transport and industry.

What's on the way
The Australian Government is investing $1.2 billion into building a hydrogen industry.
We have a goal of becoming a major clean hydrogen producer and exporter by 2030.
This plan is outlined in the National Hydrogen Strategy.

We are providing $464 million to create 7 clean hydrogen industrial hubs. These hubs will bring hydrogen producers, users and exporters together and help us to bring down
the cost of hydrogen.

Prospective hub locations include:

  • Bell Bay, TAS
  • Darwin, NT
  • Eyre Peninsula, SA
  • Gladstone, QLD
  • Latrobe Valley, VIC
  • Hunter Valley, NSW
  • Pilbara, WA

How it works
When used as a fuel, hydrogen produces no carbon emissions, only water. Hydrogen is a flexible, safe, transportable and storable fuel. It can be used to:

  • power vehicles
  • generate electricity and produce heat
  • make products like fertilisers, plastics and explosives
  • globally trade clean energy.

Our clean hydrogen future
Building a hydrogen industry offers significant benefits for Australia, especially our regional communities.

Australia’s hydrogen industry is expected to generate over $50 billion a year in GDP by 2050.

Up to 16,000 jobs could be created by 2050, with another 13,000 jobs from building related renewable energy infrastructure. A thriving hydrogen industry will help Australia cut our emissions, grow our economy and create jobs.

Fact sheet

Solar: clean and affordable energy

Fact sheet about solar.


Solar: clean and affordable energy

Solar success
Solar is an affordable, renewable energy success story. It’s reducing demand for coalfired power and lowering our energy bills. 

Australia is also proud to be among the world  leaders in solar silicon cell technology, which is the key component in most solar panels.

Increasing our use of solar will be  critical to helping Australia to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

Solar in action
Australians can’t get enough of solar and its environmental and economic benefits!

More than 1 in 4 homes are already using rooftop solar (the highest uptake in the world). 
Solar contributed to almost 10% of Australia’s electricity generation in 2020. 
It’s projected to contribute 27% of Australia’s electricity generation by 2030. 
90% of commercial solar cells use Australian technology.

Large scale solar farms are on the rise. Over 7 GW of generation capacity is installed across Australia, two and a half times the capacity of  Australia’s largest coal-fired power plant. 

By 2050, we estimate more than half of Australian homes could have solar PV systems.

How it works
Solar power is produced when energy from the sun is converted into electricity.

The process of converting sunlight into electricity using photovoltaic (PV) systems produces zero greenhouse gas emissions.
Solar energy is also harnessed to heat air, water or other substances for a variety of applications. 

Solar energy can also be used to:

  • power homes and businesses
  • produce hydrogen 
  • heat and cool buildings
  • provide power and heat for industry. 

Solar's potential
Australia has some of the best solar resources in the world. This gives us an advantage in using solar to supply clean, cheap electricity.

We are prioritising the development of ultra low-cost solar to make electricity even cheaper and reduce emissions.

By reducing the cost of solar power, it could become the single largest source of electricity in Australia by 2050 - accounting for more than 50%. 

Australia is also supporting development of energy storage technologies. This will help us to store the solar power that we generate during the day for use when we need it.

Unlocking ultra low-cost solar will be crucial for Australia’s electricity system to achieve net zero emissions

 

Fact sheet

Energy storage: flexible and reliable

Fact sheet about energy storage.

Energy storage: flexible and reliable

Essential for our low emissions future

Energy storage technologies are essential for Australia to achieve our plan of net zero emissions
by 2050.

Our goal is to make electricity grid-scale energy storage and solar generation cheaper to support a low emissions electricity future.

$1.4 billion has been invested in reliable renewable generation and storage to:

  • shift the nation to lower emissions electricity systems
  • increase our energy storage options
  • help make the grid more reliable
  • support new low emissions manufacturing industries.

How batteries are used
Coupling batteries with renewable energy generation allows energy to be stored during times of low demand and flexibly released when needed.

Batteries can then be used in a range of different ways:

  • grid-scale battery storage – a large number of batteries installed together to act as a largescale storage facility feeding directly into the electricity grid. Grid-scale batteries can stabilise the grid by providing power when needed.
  • small-scale battery storage – small or individual batteries distributed across installations in homes and businesses can store electrical energy generated from rooftop solar for later use within the property

How it works
Electricity from storage systems, like batteries, gives us electricity when we need it.

There are different ways to store energy.

Batteries store electrical energy from a range of sources, including renewable sources like solar, as chemical energy. It is then converted back to electrical energy and released when needed.

Batteries can provide power instantaneously - much faster than traditional electricity generation
technologies.

Pumped hydro energy storage uses water to store energy. Excess energy, generated from renewable technologies like solar, is used to pump water from a lower dam to a higher one. The stored energy can
then be released by returning the water through a hydroelectric turbine into the lower reservoir to generate electricity.

In future, excess energy might also be stored as heat or to produce hydrogen - another low emissions technology.

Snowy 2.0
Australia’s iconic Snowy Mountains Hydroelectric Scheme is expanding to become like a giant battery which will help store excess energy, including household solar power.

It will be the largest energy storage project in the Southern Hemisphere and will:

  • store enough energy to power 500,000 homes for over a week during peak demand.
  • increase the capacity of the Snowy Hydro Scheme by almost 50%.
  • deliver almost 4,000 jobs over the life of the project.

Fact sheet

Agriculture: supporting solutions for net zero

Fact sheet about agriculture.

Agriculture: supporting solutions for net zero

Our plan
Agriculture is the economic backbone of many regional and rural communities. 

It’s a major part of our export industry - Australia provides enough food for 80 million people. It’s continuing to grow, with our agricultural output expected to be worth $112 billion in 2030 and $131 billion in 2050.

Farmers and other land managers can play a central role in helping Australia achieve net zero emissions  by 2050. Through changes in land use practices, forestry and agriculture, overall emissions for our land  sector have fallen by 55% since 2005. 

Australian grazing and grain cropping industries have made significant contributions to Australia’s  emissions reductions while continuing to supply food and fibre to Australians and the world. 

Between 1990 and 2019, emissions from these industries fell by around 71%. Emissions intensities of  products like wheat and grass-fed beef are below the global median, and ambitious industry-led targets  will see further reductions.

The Australian Government is supporting the growth and sustainability of the agricultural industry while  helping it to reduce its emissions through investing in new technologies including:

  • Soil carbon measurement
  • Livestock feed

Soil carbon
Soil is the life support system of our  agricultural industries, environment and our communities. Improving soil health has significant environmental and economic benefits.

Healthy soil can boost agricultural productivity, boost resilience to drought and erosion and improve biodiversity.

Through its ability to store carbon, soil can also help us reduce our emissions.

By changing grazing and cropping practices, farmers can increase their soil carbon and create an additional revenue stream through selling carbon credits under the government’s Emissions Reduction Fund.

The government is making soil carbon cheaper and easier to measure, by funding research and development:

Livestock feed technologies
It’s estimated that emissions from livestock – mostly the methane from burping cattle – account for around 10% of Australia’s annual emissions. 

Feed supplements for livestock is an emerging way to reduce these emissions, with research showing that supplements like the red seaweed Asparagopsis can reduce emissions  from livestock by more than 80%. 

If just 10% of global producers of sheep, cattle and goats adopted this seaweed supplement, it’s estimated to be like removing 100 million cars from the roads.

Australian Government investment of $30.7 million over 6 years in these technologies includes:

  • $6 million for the Methane Emissions Reduction in Livestock program 
  • $23 million for the Low Emissions Supplements to Grazing Animals at Scale program and $1.7 million to scale up the production of Asparagopsis

Fact sheet

Carbon capture and storage: key to producing clean hydrogen

Fact sheet about carbon capture, use and storage.

Carbon capture and storage: key to producing clean hydrogen

Huge potential
Carbon capture, use and storage (CCUS) is  a proven and versatile technology that can permanently cut emissions from energy-intensive industries such as:

  • energy generation
  • natural gas
  • fossil fuel-based hydrogen production 
  • heavy industries. 

CCUS will be key in helping Australia to reach net zero emissions by 2050

Carbon capture and storage will also be critical to establishing a fossil fuel-based hydrogen  export industry that delivers cost competitive,  clean hydrogen to the world, creating new  opportunities for regional communities.

Carbon capture and storage is a priority technology for the government. Our goal is to reduce the cost of CO2 compression, transport and storage to less than $20/tonne, so that more sectors can use it to minimise their carbon emissions.

Investing in CCUS
We’re investing over $300 million in a range of  initiatives to develop the CCUS industry over the  coming decade, including:

The projects funded under the $50 million CCUS Development Fund will create close to 470 jobs and deliver $412 million of investment, mostly  in regional areas. Successful projects from  the $250 million CCUS Hubs and Technologies  program will be announced in early 2022.

How it works
CCUS involves capturing emissions through various technological options and then injecting the captured emissions deep underground.

Emissions can be stored there permanently or used to create commercial products. 
CCUS is the only group of technologies which can directly reduce emissions in sectors where emissions cannot be avoided such as: 

  •  fossil-fuel based resource power plants
  •  heavy industry like cement and steel
  •  fossil-fuel based hydrogen production.

Our future with CCUS

Australia’s competitive  advantage in CCUS comes from our abundant, world-class geological 
storage basins. 

CCUS will play a crucial role in helping us to reduce emissions while keeping our economy strong and continuing to serve our traditional markets.

A higher uptake of CCUS technology in our strong resource sector could make a significant contribution to Australia’s economy and create thousands of jobs – all while reducing emissions.

Large-scale CCUS projects can underpin new low emissions industries (including clean hydrogen) and provide a potential decarbonisation pathway for hard-to-abate industries.