Media release

Australia potential world leader in low emissions technology

June 22 2020

Download the ATSE submission as a PDF

Australia can be a world leader in low emissions energy technology, including energy exports, with the development of new technology, declining costs and increasing use of energy from renewable sources such as solar and wind.

In its submission to the Australian Government’s Technology Investment Roadmap Discussion Paper, the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE) has brought together a team of independent experts to explore Australia’s potential for a technology-driven clean energy future.

Dr John Söderbaum FTSE, Chair of ATSE’s Energy Forum, said that through the use of clean energy technologies, Australia’s emissions could fall by two-thirds by the year 2035.

“Australia is already making great inroads in the uptake of low emissions technologies such as solar and wind with renewable energy from these sources generating almost 20% of Australia’s total electricity generation,” Dr Söderbaum said.

“Renewable energy is getting cheaper, and the technology exists today to scale up production and introduce mechanisms to ensure the reliability of supply, move towards meeting domestic and industrial energy needs, and transition to electric and hydrogen fuelled transport systems.

“The key next step is to continue to develop and adopt storage solutions that increase our ability to rely on renewable energy and allow generation using older, emissions-heavy fossil fuel technologies to retire.”

Australia’s renewable energy capacity is already growing at a rate ten times faster per capita than the global average and four times faster per capita than in Europe, China, Japan and the United States.

To become a world-leader in renewable energy, ATSE has recommended six crucial actions: scaling up infrastructure to support greater use of solar and wind power; a rapid transition to electric heating and transport; developing a hydrogen energy economy; further R&D in emissions reduction technologies; skills development, and; scanning and, where appropriate, adopting new technologies developed overseas.

“We recommend deep and ongoing Government and private sector investment to support further research and development, production, storage and network integration of all low-cost and low-emissions energy sources, including hydrogen,” Dr Söderbaum said.

“Australia can benefit from creating low emissions solutions across industries as diverse as transport (including automobile, aviation and shipping) and steel production.

“Agriculture is another area where Australia can lead the way in transforming energy systems to carbon-neutral methods through technologies such as carbon sequestration.”