Today, the Government has released a discussion paper to further inform the development of Australia’s Future Fuels Strategy. The Future Fuels Strategy Discussion Paper outlines the Government’s vision to create an environment that enables consumer choice, stimulates industry development and reduces emissions in the road transport sector.
The paper considers the role of a mix of technologies, including traditional fuel, hybrid, hydrogen fuel cell, electric and bio-fuelled vehicles. The Government will focus on three principles to support the future fuels sector:
- addressing barriers to the roll out of new vehicle technologies to increase consumer choice;
- investing in early-stage technologies to stimulate the market and drive private sector investment; and
- giving Australians access to the right information to help them make informed choices.
This will foster Government action in areas where current trends in consumer choice can be supported, and on sectors that can derive the most benefit from adopting new technologies first.
Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said the future of road transport in Australia will be a mix of vehicle technologies and fuels.
“Australians are already making the choice to switch to new vehicle technologies where it makes the most economic sense, with hybrid sales doubling last year,” Minister Taylor said.
“We are optimistic about how quickly the technology cost will reduce for other electric vehicles compared to traditional cars, making it an easier choice for consumers.
“Importantly, this discussion paper shows that closing this gap through subsidies for new technology vehicles is not value-for-money for taxpayers and is an expensive form of abatement. Depending on the vehicle type and use, this would cost up to $747 per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent or up to around $8,000 over the life of a vehicle. Fleets is where this gap will close first.
“We’re focusing on five priority initiatives where it makes the most impact to take action first, including commercial fleets, essential infrastructure and improving information to better inform motorists.
“The Government can also foster this change by making sure our electricity grid is ready for these new technologies. Our approach will help motorists to embrace the increasing range of technologies that are available and keep Australians moving,” Minister Taylor added.
The five priority initiatives cover the following areas:
- Electric Vehicle (EV) charging and hydrogen refuelling infrastructure where it’s needed
- Early focus on commercial fleets
- Improving information for motorists and fleets
- Integrating battery EVs into the electricity grid; and
- Supporting Australian innovation and manufacturing.
The Government is inviting input through this discussion paper to help shape the final Future Fuels Strategy. Feedback will also help to influence the design and roll out of Government investment programs, including the Future Fuels Fund, and inform the Commonwealth’s priorities for ongoing work with states and territories.
To contribute to this important national conversation through the discussion paper or learn more about the Strategy process, visit: https://consult.industry.gov.au/climate-change/future-fuels-strategy/
Written submissions are open until Friday, 2 April 2021. The final Future Fuels Strategy is expected to be released in the first half of 2021.
The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) has welcomed the announcement on Future Fuels Strategy by the Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction the Hon Angus Taylor. The announcement presents a strong position with regards to the Government desire to let the market determine the direction and uptake of new technology while supporting its growth through investment in infrastructure and the removal of any barriers that discourage vehicle technology development and adoption.
FCAI Chief Executive Tony Weber agreed that continued development of zero and low emission vehicles by global vehicle manufacturers coupled with the market demand led by private and business buyers at affordable prices and operating costs will be important drivers towards zero carbon emissions.
“The FCAI will consider the Government’s position and respond formally to the discussion process,” Mr Weber said.
“It is very significant that the Minister is placing the focus on a mix of technologies rather than taxation to lead the transition. Globally, our member companies are taking a lead in emissions reduction and invest more than $100 billion every year in research and development to design and build the low and zero-emission vehicles of the future.
“This research continues to present us with a vast range of options – from highly efficient internal combustion engines, through hybrids to battery or plug-in electric and hydrogen fuel cell. The Government is wise to acknowledge that the future directions include this range of technologies.
“Governments should choose targets – not technology. The market is already showing us that these advanced drive technologies are accepted in the Australian market if they are fit for purpose and affordable,” Mr Weber said.
Mr Weber added that the Discussion Paper commentary about the role of Government in the development of critical supporting infrastructure was a positive message to the market.
“Governments have a critical role to play in the development and roll-out of appropriate infrastructure to support the growth in market demand for new technologies. Access to world-class fuel quality remains a missing link in this story.
“Most importantly, we strongly encourage the Federal Government to work cooperatively with State and Territory Governments to ensure all Australians can have confidence in consistent development of infrastructure and policy settings that support the adoption of new zero and low emission technology.
“This is an important time for unity, clarity, planning and delivery across the entire country rather than poorly considered tax grabs by State Governments on electric and hydrogen vehicles,” Mr Weber said.
At the same time the Morrison Government is backing a new trial aimed at better understanding and minimising the impact of electric vehicle (EV) charging on the supply of reliable and secure energy with the Government providing $1.6 million towards the $3.4 million trial through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).
Continuing thier support for consumer choice in future fuels, the Government is partnering with energy operator Jemena and four network service providers to gain a better understanding of how EV charging impacts the electricity system.
The trial is being conducted in 176 homes across Victoria, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory. Participating network service providers will monitor users’ charging habits to understand the network conditions and impact of EVs on the grid in real time.
Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said the trial will provide key insights into managing the impact of EVs on Australia’s electricity grid.
“An unmanaged uptake of EVs could have negative impacts on the electricity grid if a large number of vehicles are charged at home during peak periods,” Minister Taylor said.
“This trial will give us a greater understanding of how to integrate future fuel technologies in Australia without compromising our energy grid. Australians should be able to choose which type of car they drive and the Government is continuing to support them in this decision,” Minister Taylor concluded.
Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.