Cutting industry emissions and energy bills takes all tools in the belt

“The welcome announcement of $330m in Federal grants to help reduce emissions at major manufacturing and minerals sites across Australia highlights that the solutions to industrial emissions are as diverse as the sector itself,” Innes Willox, Chief Executive of the national employer association Ai Group, said today.

“The supported projects cover fertilisers, iron, cement, nickel and alumina; and while they are dominated by various forms of energy efficiency and electrification upgrades, they also include fuel switching from coal to waste or natural gas.

“Ai Group expects that as emissions reduction investment deepens and broadens across industry, the menu of solutions will get even more diverse. Advanced industrial heat pumps or thermal batteries will be relevant to many facilities. Carbon capture and utilisation or storage, clean hydrogen and derivatives, or more easily flexible and interruptible processes will be needed by others.

“Today’s grants, while welcome, are just a start. Though they will catalyse an even greater sum in private investment, the transformation of industry towards net zero emissions is a huge challenge.

“Carrots, like the Powering the Regions Fund and sticks, like the Safeguard Mechanism, are most relevant to large facilities. One major missing piece in national policy is appropriate help for Australia’s many smaller and medium-sized manufacturers to make this transition. With the Federal Government pondering sectoral plans to net zero and a major new 2035 emissions target, that gap cannot remain unfilled for long,” Mr Willox said.

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