Highlights in 2019
High impact innovation activity triggered by MI
In 2019, a consortium of over 30 Australian industry, government and academic partners established the Affordable Heating and Cooling Innovation Hub (i-Hub). i-Hub supports Australia’s engagement in Innovation Challenge 7 activities and aims to demonstrate how renewable energy technology can be integrated with heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and refrigeration equipment in commercial buildings.
Impact of your national clean energy innovation activity
In 2019, Australia installed a record estimated 6.3 gigawatts of new renewable capacity, 24% above the previous record set in 2018. This follows Australia’s investment of AUD$11.9 billion in renewable energy in 2018, the highest on record. These investments contributed to reduced emissions – lowest level of emissions per person in 29 years (in 2020) – without compromising on economic growth. Renewables are expected to contribute 27% of Australia’s electricity in 2020 and 48% in 2030.
Update on clean energy innovation policies and strategies
Australia is taking a practical, technology-focused approach to the transition to a low emissions economy.
- In May 2020, Australia launched a Technology Investment Roadmap to reduce the cost of new and emerging low emissions technologies and accelerate their deployment. Annual Low Emissions Technology Statements will be released as an ongoing and important mechanism to ensure that Australia’s investments deliver the strongest economic and emissions reductions outcomes.
- Australia announced its AUD$3.5 billion Climate Solutions Package in February 2019. The package expands investments in clean energy generation projects, energy efficiency and other economy-wide emissions reductions measures. This includes targeted investments in hydro-electric generation and large-scale storage capabilities through the Snowy 2.0 project to improve the security and reliability of Australia’s energy system.
- Australia released a National Hydrogen Strategy in November 2019. The strategy sets a vision for a clean, innovative, safe and competitive hydrogen industry, with the aim of positioning Australia’s hydrogen industry as a major player by 2030.
These new policies complement Australia’s existing suite of policies and project financing through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.
Major innovation initiatives and programmes in 2019/20
Following the release of Australia’s National Hydrogen Strategy, the Government has announced AUD$370 million funding to support new hydrogen projects. This includes:
- An AUD$300 million Advancing Hydrogen Fund from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, which will support the growth of a clean, innovative, safe and competitive Australian hydrogen industry.
- Australian Renewable Energy Agency’s Renewable Hydrogen Deployment Funding Round of up to AUD$70 million to help fast track the development of renewable hydrogen in Australia. The round is expected to play a material role in supporting commercial-scale deployments of renewable hydrogen in Australia.
Private sector engagement in 2019/20
- In November 2019, Australia joined the Leadership Group for Industry Transition, which aims to bring together government and industry leaders to develop sectoral roadmaps. These roadmaps will cover innovation, policy and finance, promoting public-private collaboration on critical challenges across hard-to-abate sectors.
- In 2019 and 2020, the Australian Government announced funding for industry-led research collaborations in clean energy through Cooperative Research Centres (CRCs). These include:
- AUD$70 million to establish the Blue Economy CRC, which brings together over 40 participants from aquaculture and renewable energy sectors to address the challenges of offshore food and energy production.
- AUD$25 million to the Future Battery Industry CRC to help tackle gaps in the battery industry’s value chain, support battery deployment and optimise the circular economy for battery waste recycling.
- AUD$40 million to the Future Energy Exports CRC, which will explore ways to apply Australia’s extensive LNG export knowledge to establish a global leading position in the nascent hydrogen export industry.
- AUD$68.5 million to establish the Reliable Affordable Clean Energy for 2030 CRC, which will facilitate research collaborations between universities and the energy industry with the aim of reducing emissions, improving network reliability and reducing energy costs across Australia.
Major activities in support of the Innovation Challenges in 2019/20
Australia participates in all eight Innovation Challenges and co-leads IC8. Our key activities between 2019 and 2020 include:
IC1: Smart Grids Challenge
- In partnership with IC1, Australia hosted a Smart Grids Pitch Competition at the World Solar Challenge in October 2019. The competition helped raise awareness of the wide-ranging potential for smart grid technologies in the investment community and with a broader audience.
IC5: Converting Sunlight Challenge
- In partnership with IC5, Australia hosted the second International Forum on Zero Carbon High Temperature Minerals Processing (HiTeMP) in March 2020. The forum brought together global leaders in research, industry and businesses to foster the transformation of heavy industries that relies on heat.
IC8: Renewable and Clean Hydrogen Challenge
- In November 2019, International Partnerships for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells in the Economy (IPHE) and IC8 co-leads (Australia, Germany and the European Commission) jointly held a workshop on Hydrogen in the Gas Grid in the UK. Participants exchanged knowledge on the regulations, codes and standards for using hydrogen in the gas grid.
National plans and priorities for clean energy innovation
- Australia’s Technology Investment Roadmap provides strategic and system-wide view to future investments in low emissions technologies. The roadmap includes annual Low Emissions Technology Statements, which are vehicles to articulate our priority technologies set economic stretch goals – realistic but ambitious pathways to bring new technologies to economic parity with high emissions alternatives.
- Australia is developing a Long Term Emissions Reduction Strategy ahead of the UN climate summit in Glasgow. The Strategy will be informed by the Technology Investment Roadmap, and outline how Australia can benefit from advances in technology as we transition our economies in the decades ahead. It will highlight technology pathways for key sectors and opportunities to boost productivity, create jobs and new export industries, and remain competitive in a world where markets increasingly value low emissions. The Strategy will show how Australia can contribute, alongside other parties to the Paris Agreement, to achieving the collective goal of net-zero globally in the second half of the century.
- The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), on behalf of the Australian Government, is developing a bioenergy roadmap to identify the role that the bioenergy sector can play in Australia’s energy transition. The roadmap will help enable bioenergy applications to be de-risked, particularly as an industry feedstock and as fuel for heavy transport, aviation and shipping.
- The Australian Government is developing a National Electric Vehicle Strategy to transition to ensure the transition to electric vehicle technology and infrastructure is planned and managed, and that the energy grid is prepared for increased electric vehicle uptake.