Federal Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction, Angus Taylor, reaffirmed Australia’s commitment to affordable, reliable and secure energy during the International Energy Agency (IEA) 2022 Ministerial Meeting. 

Global energy supply issues, the rising oil prices due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the importance of working collaboratively to reduce costs of low emissions technologies were top of the agenda.

During the meeting, Mr Taylor reaffirmed Australia’s willingness to support coordinated action to stabilise global energy markets following the war in Ukraine, which has led to sharp rises in international gas and oil prices on global markets.

This has not been the case in Australia, with the nation’s gas prices remaining up to 80 per cent below prices in Europe.

“As a result of industry and government working together, Australia has avoided the enormous gas price hikes currently being experienced across Europe and Asia,” Mr Taylor said. 

“We understand Australian families and businesses have been feeling price pressures caused by high international oil prices. 

“Our support of the IEA collective action will add further downward pressure on petrol prices for Australian motorists. 

“We have strong energy security and good supplies of both fuel and gas to meet ongoing domestic demand. 

“This will mean Australians will continue to have access to affordable everyday essentials like heating, hot water and gas for cooking even during these difficult global times.”

On 2 March 2022, Australia supported the coordinated release of oil from strategic reserves, including from Australian stocks. 

The international price of oil is the key determinant of fuel prices in Australia. Releasing additional stocks to the market through globally coordinated action will increase supply, with the aim to avoid a shortfall and ultimately lower petrol prices.

To support Ukraine, Australia has donated 70,000 tonnes of thermal coal to help the country keep its essential coal generators and energy system operating.

The Federal Government said Australia will also contribute liquidity to global gas markets while ensuring domestic gas supplies.

Mr Taylor joined the IEA meeting in Paris by video conference as a Co-Vice Chair, supporting the Chair, United States Secretary of Energy, Jennifer Granholm, and other Vice Chairs from Denmark and Belgium.  

Mr Taylor also co-hosted an official side event with Indonesia, bringing together energy ministers and industry leaders. This discussion focused on the importance of increasing global collaboration to reduce the cost of deploying low emissions technologies.

Australian businesses, including Santos and Woodside, attended the industry sessions, along with other companies that hold an important role in Australia’s energy markets including:

  • Lynas Rare Earths
  • Shell
  • Siemens Energy
  • Engie
  • ExxonMobil
  • Air Liquide

During his comments at the official side event, Mr Taylor drew on Australia’s technology-led approach to reducing emissions through the six technology priorities set out in the Low Emissions Technology Statement 2021. 

Mr Taylor reiterated that secure, reliable and affordable energy needs to remain central to any low emissions pathway. 

“Bringing down the cost of low emissions technologies, until they reach cost parity with existing energy sources, is the critical path forward,” Mr Taylor said. 

“While ambition is a first step towards decarbonisation, practical outcomes and achievement is what ultimately counts in the long run. 

“The discussions recognised that the barriers to low emissions technologies are unique to each country and regional circumstances, so strategies must be nationally determined and keep affordability and reliability at the forefront for their citizens.”

However, the meeting noted some barriers and issues are common to a range of countries.

Key barriers included:

  • Reducing the cost of deploying low emissions technologies to parity with existing energy sources
  • Mobilising both public and private sector finance
  • Facilitating global cooperation and knowledge sharing rather than countries duplicating efforts
  • Understanding and correcting vulnerabilities in both existing and emerging supply chains.

Australia will continue to work with other countries to break down these barriers, to help accelerate the deployment of low-emissions technologies and to realise the shared ambition of achieving net zero emissions by 2050.

Integral to the development and deployment of low emission technologies is the supply of critical minerals. In acknowledgement of this, the development of Australia’s critical minerals sector continues to be a high priority for the Federal Government. 

The 2022 Critical Minerals Strategy sets out an ambitious vision for Australia to be a ‘global critical minerals powerhouse’ by 2030 and integral to global supply chains and technologies.

Mr Taylor also used the meeting to confirm Australia would make a $2 million voluntary contribution to the IEA’s Clean Energy Transition Program (CETP) to support enhanced cooperation between the IEA and India.

The IEA meeting endorsed a communique which said IEA members remained committed to accelerate the deployment of low emissions technologies to lower global emissions, despite the recent volatility in global markets and higher energy prices.

The communique is available at the IEA website.

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