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The Roadmap will bring a sharp focus to the Government’s investments in priority low emissions technologies. Clear principles will guide our approach to investments and encourage partnerships with industry, researchers and the community that play to our strengths and adapt to changing circumstances.

Low-emissions technologies will be deployed when they are cost-competitive with existing technologies. The role for governments in technology deployment should be to address market failures and remove barriers such as outdated regulations.

Grattan Institute

Guiding principles for government support of low emissions technology

A Technology-led approach

A technology-led approach lowers the cost of new and emerging low emissions technologies to achieve economic competitiveness with existing business methods.

The ultimate goal is the substitution of existing higher emission technologies and practices with cleaner, more efficient and lower cost technologies.

Ultimately, the Roadmap will help new and emerging technologies become the rational choice of economic actors. The Roadmap prioritises technologies that have potential to out-compete existing alternatives (not just reach cost parity) in the short, medium and long-term.

The Government sees enhanced economic outcomes in expanding rather than limiting the choices of consumers and businesses. Our approach is to reduce the cost of new and emerging technologies rather than raising the cost of existing processes or technologies, or adding to the costs consumers and businesses face. The Government will respect consumer choice and trust households and businesses to adopt new technologies as they approach parity. The Government will not seek to regulate these outcomes through mandated deployment targets or taxation mechanisms.

A technology-led approach delivers the lowest cost abatement and the best economic outcomes. Technology neutrality is fundamental to this approach.

This means that all available technologies need to be on the table for Australia to achieve global climate goals. Investments are prioritised through a transparent and system-wide process that does not exclude any technologies at the outset.

Some crucially important low emissions technologies, including some of the priorities identified in this Statement, such as CCS, may add to costs compared to incumbent technologies. These technologies may need targeted government support, incentives (such as through the Emissions Reduction Fund) and increased market demand for low emissions products to achieve deployment at scale.

The Government has a role in creating the right enabling environment, including critical enabling technologies and infrastructure, to achieve large-scale deployment of priority low emissions technologies.

Play to our strengths

Investments should focus where Australia has a defined comparative advantage or research edge, building on our reputation as a reliable supplier of energy, food, fibre, and materials to global markets.

Investing in skills and capabilities, and leveraging the knowledge and experience of our existing industries and institutions, will prepare Australia’s communities and businesses for a dynamic future.

We will build on existing institutions, rather than starting from scratch. ARENA, the CEFC and the CER will remain the key delivery agencies for the Roadmap.

Through these institutions, Government support for technologies will extend across the full cycle from early and applied research and development, through to commercialisation, deployment and diffusion.

CSIRO, CRCs and Australia’s universities will continue to pursue low emissions technology breakthroughs and the Roadmap will provide a clear signal for their investments.

Partner with the private sector

The private sector drives technology deployment and the Government’s role is to remove roadblocks, enable consumer choice and support the emergence of the best enabling environment. Government should invite the private sector to bring forward solutions to solve our technology challenges.

Government should never crowd out private investment, and deployment of commercially mature technologies should be left to the private sector. Ergo, agencies’ focus will need to evolve over time. Incentives should be designed to help de-risk priority low emissions technologies that add costs to existing processes (such as CCS).

In these cases, the Government will support voluntary emissions reductions, including through the Emissions Reduction Fund.

Demand can be catalysed through activities such as offtake agreements, procurement of certain technologies, and incentivising uptake of priority low emissions technologies through ARENA, CEFC and CER funding.

Investor confidence will be strengthened by clear policy directions, regulatory certainty, an enduring investment framework, and institutional continuity.

These factors support revenue certainty for businesses and will help attract investment in priority low emissions technologies at the scale necessary to meet the economic stretch goals.

The Government will work with our international partners to support access to global markets for Australian low emissions businesses. Open trade and investment settings provide pathways for technology deployment in Australia and globally, helping make low emissions technologies commercial.

Strategic direction can be provided by the Technology Investment Advisory Council comprising industry, private investment, government, and research leaders.

Adaptive pathways

The global technology and energy landscapes are changing rapidly.

Annual Statements like this one will help to position Australia as a leading nation at the cutting edge of innovation.

The Roadmap is a comprehensive and enduring investment framework. It is an analytical, transparent and system-wide approach to targeting the Government’s technology investments and actions.

Coordinated impact evaluation will measure the impact of investments, identify underperformance and enable the Government to fine tune its investment portfolio over time.

Australian research has underpinned the world’s development of silicon PV and is driving next-generation tandem silicon improvements helping further reduce energy costs.

ANU Research School of Electrical, Energy and Materials Engineering

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