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Australia starts public consultation to enroll more technologies in its Emissions Reduction Fund

Highlights

Five new low emissions technologies to generate carbon credits

Trade body APPEA submits draft CCS proposal

Country extends deadline for hydrogen guarantee of origin to Aug 6

Australia has begun public consultation in the week started July 25 to help identify five new technologies to be enrolled in its Emissions Reduction Fund, or ERF, by 2022, which would serve multiple goals of boosting investment in low carbon technologies, widen the base for producing carbon credits, and contribute to emissions reduction targets under the Paris Agreement.

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Under Australia's nascent carbon market, projects of certain types are eligible to generate carbon credits called Australian Carbon Credit Units as part of the ERF program.

These credits are sold to the national and state governments as well as companies and private buyers, according to the government's website. The Clean Energy Regulator determines the methodology, or methods, for the types of eligible projects under ERF.

Currently, the majority of registered projects under ERF are agricultural and vegetation ones, the government website showed. This has pushed the Australian government to diversify the ERF portfolio and by the end of 2021, five new methods are expected to be delivered: carbon capture and storage, soil carbon, biomethane or green gas, and plantation forestry.

"In 2022, the Government will accelerate the development of five new ERF methods," according to the statement. The consultation began July 26 and is due to close Aug. 26.

Australia said it was particularly interested in proposals that would support priority technologies identified in the 1st Low Emissions Technology Statement or support low emissions transport infrastructure, for example, electric or hydrogen vehicle refueling infrastructure.

Australia's 1st Low Emissions Technology Statement was issued in 2020 and had identified five priority technologies: clean hydrogen, energy storage, low carbon materials -- steel and aluminum, CCS, as well as soil carbon.

"Expanding the range of eligible activities under the scheme will increase investment in low emissions technologies, helping Australia to meet and beat its emissions reduction goals while strengthening the economy," Angus Taylor, the Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, said.

"A new high of 44 projects were registered under the ERF in the first quarter of 2021 and it is on track to deliver a record 17 million tonnes of emissions reductions this year. Including new methods under the scheme will ensure participation continues to grow and emissions keep falling," Taylor added.

The development of CCS and soil carbon methods are already in the government's agenda to be completed by the end of 2021, and methods for biomethane or green gas, and plantation forestry are also to be completed by this year.

APPEA submits CCS draft

The trade body Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association, or APPEA, submitted its draft CCS proposal to the government in the week started July 25, saying the technology was an important way to not only reduce emissions but also create thousands of jobs.

"With scale and experience, the cost of CCS will decrease, creating the potential to deliver competitive, large-scale abatement for existing industries and new industries such as hydrogen and ammonia," APPEA Chief Executive Andrew McConville said in a July 28 statement.

"The world is noticing the opportunity for CCS with 19 projects now operational (10 from oil and gas), including Chevron-operated Gorgon CO2 Injection Project, which is the largest dedicated CCS project in the world, another four under construction and at least 30 more projects coming on-line in the years ahead," McConville said.

Meanwhile, the Australian government extended July 29 its deadline for a consultation on developing a guarantee of origin program for hydrogen in the country to Aug. 6 from the previous deadline of July 30, citing strong feedback from the industry.

Under the initiative, Australia plans to hold trials of a GO system for clean hydrogen later this year, certifying three production pathways: electrolysis, coal gasification with CCS, and steam methane reforming with CCS.

The GO program is a priority under Australia's National Hydrogen Strategy and will be vital to give H2 purchasers transparency as clean hydrogen trade develops.