Investment vital for Australia’s low-carbon economy

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has welcomed Australia’s ambitions for a low carbon economy but warned the nation must continue to invest to make further progress. In a review of […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has welcomed Australia’s ambitions for a low carbon economy but warned the nation must continue to invest to make further progress.

In a review of Australia’s energy policies, the IEA praised the country’s “ambitious goals” and said it has taken “many positive steps” since the last review. However, it warned that keeping up with the progress it has made to cut emissions and increase its energy security will need significant investment.

The report said the scale of Australia’s energy policy ambitions is “enormous and very costly for a resource rich nation” and suggested “continuous access to a large pool of highly qualified labour” would be needed to maintain the progress.

The IEA also welcomed the Government’s financial commitment to carbon capture and storage, the expansion of renewable energy and backed its recent introduction of the carbon price mechanism to help tackle climate change.

Maria van der Hoeven, the Agency’s Executive Director said: “The IEA views carbon pricing as a critical component of climate policy and we hope its introduction in Australia will put an end to much uncertainty in the energy sector. But even with a carbon price, Australia will need supplementary policies, like energy-efficiency policies to unlock low‐cost abatement and technology policies to help lower the long-term cost of new technologies, including renewable energy and carbon capture and storage. Commendably, Australia has developed a relatively balanced package with strong elements of each policy.”

Australia, best known to produce coal and natural gas, has “extensive” wind, solar and geothermal resources and is currently the world’s ninth-largest energy producer, the report said.