A critical step forward in accelerating the deployment of carbon capture and storage (CCS) in Australia, the country’s government today backed the technology in a bid to cut emissions.

The Morrison Government has accepted recommendations made by an expert panel review, chaired by former Business Council of Australia president Grant King, to identify new opportunities to unlock low cost abatement across the economy.

Accepted recommendations include pushing forward legislation to enable the development of CCS projects within its $2bn Emissions Reduction Fund, and expanding the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) to open up private sector investment in CCS.

Energy and Emissions Minister Angus Taylor said the release of the King Review looks to build on the success of the Emissions Reduction Fund and is the next step in the government’s ‘technology not taxes’ approach to reducing emissions.

“The Government will target dollar for dollar co-investment from the private sector and other levels of government to drive at least $4bn of investment that will reduce emissions across Australia,” Taylor said in a statement.

“We have seen considerable success in the land and electricity sectors to reduce emissions – this is about supporting and capitalising on new and exciting opportunities in the agriculture, manufacturing, industrial and transport sectors to build on that success.”

The King Review makes 26 recommendations across three themes:

  • Enhancing the Emissions Reduction Fund to encourage greater participation;
  • Incentivising voluntary emissions reductions on a broader scale; and
  • Unlocking the transformative low emissions technologies that businesses need.

Key recommendations supported by the Government include:

  • Reducing red tape for small ERF projects and increased industry involvement in the development of new methods to participate in the ERF;
  • Supporting investment in projects that reduce emissions, through a below-baseline crediting mechanism for Safeguard-covered facilities;
  • Developing a co-investment program to accelerate technologies with high potential, in ‘hard to abate’ sectors like heavy industry and transport; and
  • ARENA and the CEFC should support the widest possible range of technologies that reduce emissions.

The recommendations align with the government’s technology-based approach to reducing emissions, which will be developed further through the Technology Investment Roadmap that will soon be released for public consultation.

“Our 2030 Paris target is a floor not a ceiling. These reforms will position Australia to overachieve on our 2030 Paris target while maintaining a strong economy,” Taylor said.

Australia is on track to exceed its 2020 emissions reduction target by 411 million tonnes.

International think-tank the Global CCS Institute, research organisation CO2CRC and the Carbon Market Institute have today spoken out on on the Australian Government’s plants to accelerate the deployment of CCS.

Read the reaction here.