MELBOURNE- Australia plans to invest A$18 billion ($13 billion) over the next 10 years in technologies to cut carbon emissions in the fight against climate change, the country's energy minister said on Monday.
The technology investment roadmap is the latest attempt by Australia, the world's top coal and gas exporter, to come up with a climate and energy policy after 13 years of wrangling over carbon prices and emissions targets.
It stops short of proposing a net zero emissions target by 2050 or a carbon price, the measures a wide range of a groups, from Australia's biggest companies to environmentalists, say are the way to drive investments by creating certainty.
Instead, the government will focus on investing in hydrogen, energy storage, low carbon steel and aluminium, carbon capture and storage, and carbon sequestration in soil, with cost targets for those technologies, Energy Minister Angus Taylor said.
At the end of 2019, the country was half way to meeting its Paris climate accord commitment to cut emissions by 26% to 28% from its 2005 level by 2030.
"Australia can't and shouldn't damage its economy to reduce emissions," Taylor was set to say in a speech in Canberra on Tuesday, according to excerpts released on Monday.
"In emissions reduction, it is the race for cost effective low and negative emissions technologies that will strengthen our economy not weaken it," Taylor's speech excerpts said.
The plan seeks to cut the cost of battery storage to less than A$100 per megawatt hour, lower the cost of carbon capture and storage to less than A$20 per tonne, and reduce the cost of measuring carbon in soil to less than A$3 per hectare per year to encourage farmers to change their land management practices.
For low emissions steel production, the goal is to cut costs to less than A$900 per tonne and for green aluminium to less than A$2,700 per tonne.
($1 = 1.3671 Australian dollars)
(Reporting by Sonali Paul; editing by Barbara Lewis) ((Sonali.Paul@thomsonreuters.com; +61 407 119 523;))