Australian Renewable Agency Blocked from Funding Low Emissions Technologies

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The Australian Government’s plan to use its Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) to bankroll the development of low emissions technologies has been extinguished after a bill it banked on passing was blocked, stopping access to billions of dollars in funds. Last year’s 2020-21 federal budget (pdf) had allotted $1.6 billion (US$1.2 billion) to ARENA in the hopes it would go towards tackling key emissions-reduction opportunities in its Technology Investment Roadmap. However, members of the senate were unhappy that the bill would expand ARENA’s reach to include technologies that simply lowered emissions rather than removing them altogether, such as carbon capture and storage (CCS). CCS has been proposed for use in hard-to-abate industries such as natural gas processing, cement, and the generation of hydrogen through coal gasification, with a world-first pilot program already underway in Victoria. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison had already allocated an additional $540 million towards both hydrogen and …

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