August 26, 2022
Reaching Net Zero by 2050 is a goal most governments and organisations have now adopted. The next challenge is to answer the question of exactly how to do so, given the competing constraints and requirements societies like Australia must balance.
Significant progress answering this question has now been made with the interim results released today by the Net Zero Australia project (NZAu), a study which aims to provide rigorous and independent roadmaps to help guide our nation to reach net zero in both domestic and export emissions.
These interim results mark the halfway point in the two-year project which will deliver a highly-granular analysis of the technologies and deployment pathways needed to transform our aspirational Net Zero targets to tangible changes to the Australian energy system across different States, areas and sectors.
Scenario-based and evidence-driven as well as technology-neutral and non-political, this project will help provide vital future guidance not only for Australia’s leaders and planners but also for the Future Energy Exports Cooperative Research Centre (FEnEx CRC), one of the NZAu project’s four gold sponsors and a member of its advisory panel.
Undoubtedly the NZAu findings will help provide clear priorities and greater impetus to the cutting-edge, industry-led research, education and training FEnEx CRC already has underway to help decarbonise Australia’s LNG exports and help grow clean hydrogen production.
What is becoming clear is the fact that whatever we do – we need to start building and investing in the options for our energy future NOW!
Even from the current interim results, successfully transitioning our existing energy matrix is highly dependent on a few key factors.
First, an unprecedented level of investment of capital will be needed as soon as possible in clean energy generation and transmission infrastructure.
Importantly, the interim results are also showing the cost to produce and export clean energy will be high but competitive.
This latter finding is particularly important to the FEnEx CRC as research and development will be essential to helping make new export energies and the technologies they rely upon financially viable faster as well as assist their commercialisation at scale.
As NZAu moves into its next phase, the FEnEx CRC will continue to contribute to the project and help build a better understanding of the scale, complexity and cost of the Net Zero task for our decision-makers as well as the different ways in which the future can unfold.
By understanding this better, we can all work together across government, private sector, academia and our broader community to make informed decisions about our energy future.
Net Zero Australia is a partnership between the University of Melbourne, the University of Queensland, Princeton University and management consultancy Nous Group.