Prioritising clean hydrogen, energy storage and green steel are clear hits for the Federal Government’s technology investment roadmap, says the Clean Energy Council, but it is a missed opportunity not to prioritise the increased and better use of Australia’s wind and solar resources.

Federal Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor released the first Low Emissions Technology Statement this week, which identifies five priority technologies that will be the focus of the government’s existing $18 billion investment.

“While wind and solar are now proven technologies and attracting enormous investor support, they are also the technologies that can have the greatest impact in decarbonising Australia’s energy system and economy,” says Clean Energy Council CEO Kane Thornton. “It is therefore surprising and disappointing that the roadmap fails to address the range of barriers to their accelerated deployment.”

The roadmap should support renewable energy enablers, including grid-forming inverter technology, transmission network and integrated systems architecture as well as focus on much-needed development of the grid and reform of the energy market. These enablers will, in turn, assist the electrification of other areas of the economy, the development of green hydrogen and its derivatives and electricity export opportunities.

As outlined in the Clean Energy Council’s comprehensive submission, there remains a clear role for government to remove the remaining barriers to reverse the recent slowdown in investment and rebuild investor confidence that is critical to a more secure, efficient and clean energy sector. This should include greater attention to a streamlined planning process, targeted development of the workforce and reform to the grid and market.

It is also a missed opportunity to support offshore wind and an accelerated rollout of public electric vehicle charging infrastructure that can boost Australian jobs and local economic activity.

“Offshore wind is an enormous emerging opportunity for Australia, and has been a strong focus for many other countries around the world,” says Thornton. “It is at an earlier stage of development and as such still faces a range of barriers and challenges, particularly relating to the regulatory and approvals regimes that warrant it to be a priority.

“This technology roadmap is no substitute for a comprehensive energy transition strategy, including target and policy, to lead the shift to clean energy,” says Thornton.