Carbon capture and hydrogen are among the top investment priorities for the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

Carbon capture and hydrogen are among the top investment priorities for the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, after the federal government redrafted regulations opposed by Labor and the Greens to allow low emissions technologies to be bankrolled.

The expanded mandate for ARENA will see it back the Morrison government’s energy technology road map with both carbon capture and storage along with hydrogen included as key priorities under its investment plan to be released on Thursday.

Funding will be directed towards the two technologies alongside energy storage, soil carbon management and projects that support the transition to low emissions aluminium and steel and cut the cost of renewable energy generation.

Labor teamed up with the Greens in June to veto expanding the investment mandate of the renewable energy agency including carbon capture and hydrogen. Labor argued that while it does not oppose the technologies, the ARENA fund should be used only to fund renewables.

Redrafted regulations saw the changes go through with a focus on Australia’s five low emissions priorities, ­including clean hydrogen and CCS technologies.

ARENA said the new focus was based on where Australia can benefit in the shift to net zero emissions.

“We are at the beginning of a critical decade for Australia and the world as we make the investments required to reduce emissions in line with international commitments,” ARENA chief executive Darren Miller said.

“To get to net zero, we need to invest today in the technologies that are going to transform our energy system and our economy in the years to come. Our new priorities are focused on the next generation of energy technologies that will position Australia as a leader in a net zero world,” he said.

ARENA has provided $1.8bn in funding since 2012 to more than 600 renewable energy projects with a total project value of just under $8bn.

Energy Minister Angus Taylor said he was focused on “getting more horses into the race” and delivering new energy technologies to parity.

“The urgent challenge of materially reducing global emissions demand that we take a portfolio approach. There is no silver bullet, and restricting ourselves from exploring opportunities for innovation will limit our – and the world’s – prospects of success,” Mr Taylor said.

Mr Taylor has named carbon capture and storage as one of Australia’s five “priority technologies” in tackling emissions but few projects currently exist despite government support.

Santos will consider giving the go-ahead for its Moomba ‘carbon sink’ in South Australia later this year.

Some of Australia’s biggest energy investors — including iron ore magnate Andrew Forrest — are backing dozens of hydrogen projects spanning the nation, betting the clean technology can spur an export opportunity eventually rivalling the country’s fossil fuel revenues.

Extracted in full from: Feds push carbon capture, hydrogen for ARENA | Herald Sun

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