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Singapore International Energy Week


26 October 2020

Hello and thank you to Minister Chan Chun Sing for the opportunity to address you at the 13th Singapore International Energy Week.

Singapore is a very important strategic partner for Australia.

In addition to our shared economic, trade and security interests, we share a commitment to addressing the global challenge of climate change.

We know that advancing the next generation of low emissions technologies is crucial to achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Technological progress is the only way to reduce emissions while continuing to grow our economies, and maintain a reliable and secure energy supply.

And realising these goals will require widespread international cooperation.

We’ll need to work with the private sector, research institutions and international partners.

And so, I’m particularly pleased this morning to have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to advance cooperation between Australia and Singapore on technology solutions.

It’s been a pleasure working with Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing on this agreement.

Australia and Singapore already work together on a range of low-emissions technology partnerships.

This MoU will take that cooperation further.

It affirms our shared ambition to drive down the cost of the technologies needed to enable global climate action; while lowering emissions and keeping our economies strong.

We are expanding our commitment to work together on:

  • hydrogen,
  • renewable electricity,
  • carbon capture utilisation and storage
  • and other low-emission technologies.

Practically, this will include work to develop hydrogen supply chains and manage energy grid reliability, to name just two examples.

We will also work together to support each other, and countries in our region, to measure and report national emissions. 

Australia has recently taken a very significant step forward in our efforts to reduce emissions through technology.

We have developed a national Technology Investment Roadmap to guide an expected $18 billion of Australian Government investment in low emissions technologies over the next 10 years.

We’re aiming to leverage at least a 3x multiplier on that investment – crowding in co-investment from other levels of government, research institutions and the private sector.

Together, we hope to realise at least $70 billion of new investment over the next decade.

We’ve set stretch targets for five priority technologies:

  1. clean hydrogen,
  2. electricity storage,
  3. low emissions steel and aluminium production,
  4. carbon capture and storage, and finally
  5. soil carbon sequestration.

These goals are set at the point at which these technologies will become cost-competitive with higher emitting alternatives.

Australia’s experience has been that when new technologies become economically competitive, households and businesses rapidly adopt them.

We’re seeing that first hand with renewables right now.

On an energy-only basis, costs have fallen rapidly, and we’ve seen $30 billion invested in renewable energy since 2017.

Australia is now deploying new renewable energy 10 times faster per capita than the global average and 4 times faster per capita than Europe, China, Japan or the US.

About 2 million, or one in 4, Australian households now have solar panels.

In 2019, the share of wind and solar in Australia’s electricity grids was more than double the global average – and projected to rise rapidly in coming years.

Of course, this brings new challenges.

We need more flexible backup generation and storage – gas, pumped hydro and batteries – to balance and integrate high shares of renewable energy.

That’s why our technology-focussed approach is so practical.

By focussing on getting the costs of new technologies down, we won’t raise the cost of incumbent technologies, like coal and gas, that continue to play an important role in our energy mix.

Our practical approach won’t undermine energy affordability or reliability as we recover from COVID-19.

And as one of the world’s largest energy exporters, we’ll continue to support our partners, like Singapore, with the abundant, affordable energy their economies rely on.

Getting new technologies  – like hydrogen, carbon capture and battery energy storage – down to a point where they are cost competitive will significantly reduce emissions at home and abroad.

Our five priority technologies have the potential to significantly reduce emissions from energy, transport, agriculture and industry.

These sectors make up around 90% of global emissions and emit 45 billion tonnes annually.

Our ambition is to be a global leader in low emissions technology solutions.

Our plan is based on balance and outcomes.

It’s a plan that will bring the world with us, creating jobs and supporting future prosperity.

Singapore International Energy Week is a great platform to share solutions around our region and globally.

It is this practical approach that Australia so strongly supports.

Thank you again and I wish you all the best for this, the 13th edition of International Energy Week.