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Business envoy

Backing low emissions technology

Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment

With an abundance of renewable resources, robust industry standards and cutting-edge technological innovation, Australia is well positioned at the forefront of a low-emissions global economy.

Amid the huge disruptions to national economies across the globe caused by COVID-19, it is more important than ever not to lose sight of our renewable energy objectives when setting our economic priorities, and to ensure our Indo-Pacific neighbours have the capacity to achieve theirs.

That is the focus of this low emissions technology edition of business envoy. It features many of the practical and innovative ways Australian companies and the Australian Government are helping to drive emissions down across the economy. It also highlights opportunities to partner with other countries to reduce global emissions.

Simon Birmingham
Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment was a keynote speaker at the Australia Latin America Business Council (ALABC) forum. Credit: DFAT.

Australia’s highly successful Clean Energy Finance Corporation has mobilised almost $28 billion in investments since its inception. The Australian Renewable Energy Agency has helped improve the affordability for Australian energy consumers and increase the supply of renewable energy in Australia. 

Australia’s Renewable Energy Target is contributing to investment into renewable energy use with more wind and solar capacity being installed than ever before. As at June 2020, there was $19 billion worth of investment, including foreign investment, in new renewable projects (over 11 GW) under construction or due to start construction soon. 25 per cent of our electricity supply in the National Electricity Market is generated from renewable energy and by the early 2020s around one third of our electricity needs are expected to be met by renewables.

Targeted investments in transmission and grid firming technologies, such as Snowy 2.0 and the ‘Battery of the Nation’, will help manage this transition.

Over the long-term, technological innovation will drive emissions reduction in the Australian and global economies. In partnership with industry, the Australian Government is developing a Technology Investment Roadmap and has released the Roadmap’s first Low Emissions Technology Statement which together will be the cornerstone of Australia’s long-term emissions reduction strategy.

As we move toward implementing our commitments under the Paris Agreement we are working with our international partners to intensify innovation, investment and collaboration. Austrade and Export Finance Australia are actively assisting Australian companies realise their trade and investment goals to support this effort.

Building on Australia’s strong reputation as a reliable global energy and minerals supplier, Australia can become a low emissions energy powerhouse through exporting Australian expertise, including in environmental, waste, recycling and circular economy technologies; smart cities and green building; climate smart agriculture; and water resources management.

This edition of business envoy highlights innovative projects from around the nation – Australian businesses that are developing and deploying low emissions technology, providing jobs and building the economy of the future. From Horizon Power micro grids in Western Australia, to pumped hydro in Queensland and Sun Cable’s renewable electricity exports to Asia. Two renewable energy projects featured in this edition – Sun Cable’s Australia-ASEAN Power Link and the Asian Renewable Energy Hub – have both recently been awarded Major Project Status by the Australian Government

I also draw your attention to the Australian Government’s nomination of the Hon Mathias Cormann as Secretary General for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which is featured in this edition. Senator Cormann’s firm stewardship of the Australian economy through the economic shocks of the pandemic would be indispensable to the OECD as it guides its member nations in their economic recoveries.

I encourage readers interested in understanding how they can better connect with Asian trade and investment partners to explore Asialink’s findings of its Winning in Asia report. This is a valuable resource for Australians doing business in Asia.

Finally I want to take the opportunity to congratulate Alberto Calderon, CEO of Orica, on his appointment as the Chair of the Council on Australia Latin America Relations, and Cristina Talacko for her appointment as the newest Board Member. I am pleased that our people-to-people relations are in such good hands.

I extend my appreciation to the contributors and I trust you enjoy this clean energy edition of business envoy.

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