Australia has committed to providing $180 million in grants to support the development of carbon capture, use and storage (CCUS) projects, part of a broader technology push to help cut carbon emissions, while still allowing for the use of gas and coal. The funds will be used to support the design and construction of carbon capture hubs and shared infrastructure, as well as carbon capture technology research and commercialization, and the identification of viable carbon storage sites.
Ahead of a United Nations climate summit in November, the government has resisted international pressure to commit to a net zero carbon target for 2050 or deeper cuts than a plan to reduce emissions by 26 per cent to 28 per cent by 2030 from 2005 levels. Instead, it has pledged to spend A$18 billion over the next ten years on a variety of technology to aid in the reduction of emissions, including hydrogen, energy storage, and carbon capture and storage. The grants for hydrogen projects are part of a total investment of A$1.2 billion by the government in hydrogen, which includes low-cost financing aimed at lowering the cost of hydrogen production to less than A$2 per kg. Seven hydrogen hubs will be built across Australia, up from five previously, including in key coal-producing regions of New South Wales and Victoria.
In September 2021, Australia’s largest corporations started making commitments to decarbonise, with many announcing plans to become carbon neutral by 2050. The pathways to achieving these goals were likely to be varied and multi-faceted. In the short term, companies could consider procuring renewably sourced energy or purchasing offsets and increasing energy efficiencies, but there are some hard-to-abate areas that would require longer-term solutions.