The Federal Government has released its latest Low Emissions Technology Statement (LETS), in a bid to drive down emissions and combat climate change. 

The 2021 statement highlights the importance of ultra low-cost solar, clean hydrogen, low emissions metals, medium duration storage, and emerging technologies as we transition towards net zero.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) welcomed the Federal Government’s second LETS, released at COP26 in Glasgow by the Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction, Angus Taylor.

ARENA said the statement holds a strong alignment with the agency’s Investment Priorities, which enables the agency to assist in delivering on the Roadmap.

Developed as part of the Federal Government’s Technology Investment Roadmap process, the LETS 2021 builds on the inaugural statement in 2020.

The statement outlines priority technologies with the potential for transformational economic and emissions outcomes, in Australia and globally, including clean hydrogen, energy storage, low carbon steel and aluminium, carbon capture and storage and soil carbon.

ARENA said it is also pleased to see the addition of ultra low-cost solar as a priority technology in the LETS.

ARENA said that ultra low-cost solar, with the stretch goal of $15 per/MW hour, which is roughly a third of the current cost, can help Australia move towards a lower cost, largely renewable electricity system and achieve the ultimate goal of net zero emissions by 2050.

Ultra low-cost solar will also be a key input to scaling up production of low cost green hydrogen, in support of the LETS hydrogen goal of “H2 under $2”, as well as key to unlocking other decarbonisation pathways for heavy industry including low emission materials such as green steel and aluminium.

As part of ARENA’s new Investment Plan and in support of ultra low-cost solar, ARENA has announced a new target of Solar 30 30 30 – an ambitious target to improve solar module efficiency to 30 per cent and reduce the cost of solar module installation to 30 cents per watt installed by 2030.

The 2021 statement also focuses on a number of emerging and enabling technologies which ARENA said also strongly align with its Investment Priorities and previous funding, including battery charging and hydrogen refuelling infrastructure, and digital grid integration.

ARENA said that together with the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Clean Energy Regulator, the agency hopes to play a key part in the Government’s efforts to accelerate priority technologies to achieve stretch goals.

ARENA Chair, Justin Punch, is also one of the members of the Technology Investment Advisory Council, chaired by Dr Alan Finkel AO and comprises leaders from business, science, technology and government which advised the Government on the 2021 LETS.

In September 2021, off the back of having renewed funding, ARENA launched its new Investment Plan which outlined new strategic priorities including optimising the electricity transition, commercialising clean hydrogen and supporting the shift to low emission metals. 

Along with ultra low-cost solar, ARENA’s focus areas also include energy storage, demand flexibility and grid integration. ARENA is also looking to explore opportunities in new areas of carbon capture and storage and soil carbon measurement.

ARENA CEO, Darren Miller, said the LETS would help the agency to continue to work on a number of stretch goals, particularly in solar, hydrogen, and energy storage.

“ARENA’s considerable number of projects within solar, hydrogen and other enabling technologies means we’re already in the fast lane and able to provide significant expertise in delivering priority technologies and stretch goals presented in the LETS,” Mr Miller said. 

“Solar and wind are now mature technologies that can deliver bulk energy at costs low enough to justify their deployment at scale. However, many of the harder-to-abate sectors need electricity at even cheaper rates than is possible with today’s technology, which is why the 30-30-30 target for ultra low cost solar is so important to achieve our net zero emission target.”

“ARENA welcomes the latest Low Emissions Technology Statement by the Australian Government and we look forward to working alongside the CEFC and CER in continuing to finance companies and projects that reduce emissions and increase renewable energy uptake in Australia.”

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