Article by: Hari Yellina (Orchard Tech)
Australia’s prime minister on Wednesday launched a billion Australian dollar ($738 million) investment fund to fast-track emerging low emissions technologies including carbon capture and storage as he bolsters his government’s green credentials ahead of elections due within months. Prime Minister Scott Morrison expects the private sector will at least match his government’s AU$500 million ($369 million) contribution to the fund. He believes Australia can become a world leader in creating low-emissions technology that is both affordable and scalable.
However, that would require a change in the law because the corporation can only invest in technologies that have proved to work in the short term such as wind and solar. It cannot invest in more experiment technologies with longer-term potential such a carbon capture and storage. The new fund would address a gap in the Australian market in which small, complex, technology-focused start-ups can be considered too risky to finance. The centre-left opposition Labor Party left open the possibility of supporting the legislation in the Senate if the government was promising new money and not taking investment away from other areas of clean energy production.
Less than 2% of new vehicles sold in Australia are electric, and the transport sector is a major reason why Australia, on a per capita basis, is one of the world’s worst greenhouse gas emitters. Australia is one of the world’s largest exporters of coal and liquid natural gas. Carbon capture and storage involves capturing carbon at a source, concentrating it then injecting it deep underground. Australia is home to the world’s largest carbon capture and storage facility at Chevron’s Gorgon natural gas project on Barrow Island off its northwest coast. There are around 60 such facilities operating or under construction around the world.