The government’s technology road map is meant to be the centrepiece of a national long-term emissions reductions strategy. It is an opportunity to set some directions among seismic shifts in energy technologies, and against the lack of a climate policy framework.
This week a discussion paper for that road map was put out by the Energy Minister. It is a curious document. The mantra is low emissions innovation with ‘technology neutrality’, a useful starting point. The bulk of the document is a survey of many technologies that together can underpin a low-carbon economy. But there is no real indication of priorities, nor of how progress will actually be made. Policy is not mentioned.
The most important message might simply be that the future is low-carbon energy, industry and transport. This is obvious to anyone who is alert to climate change, and to Australia’s opportunities in an age of cheap renewable energy. Still, for a government document to spell it out suggests that some progress is made amid the political hang-ups over energy and climate. The 2015 Energy White Paper listed 18 priorities — not a single one of these had anything to with low carbon..
It is quite obvious that there is no role for coal in Australia’s future energy system, but having it stated by the government is progress.