Sydney, Sep 15 (EFE).- Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Friday said he aspires for the country to become a “superpower” of renewable energy and outlined his government’s plans to promote and accelerate the country’s energy transition.
Anti-Adani coal mine protestors are seen marching through the streets of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, 07 June 2019. EPA-EFE FILE/DARREN ENGLAND AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT
“My government’s vision is for Australia to be a renewable energy superpower, which will in turn help us to become an advanced manufacturing powerhouse,” he said in a speech at the Future Energy forum in Sydney.
The global shift towards clean energy is Australia’s “biggest opportunity for growth and prosperity,” Albanese said, as the country has all the “building blocks of the clean energy future” such as lithium, cobalt, copper, rare earths and critical minerals.
“And just as our continent is blessed with an abundance of wind and sunshine, we have the minerals to build the wind turbines and the solar panels that convert them into electricity,” he said.
The prime minister, in power since May last year, also noted the “pressure of higher power bills,” which he attributed to the war in Ukraine but also to the “neglect” of the previous administration, which, he said “didn’t manage a single coherent energy policy.”
Visitors check an LDV Mifa 9 vehicle at the Fully Charged Live expo, a display of electric vehicles plus home and business energy efficiency schemes in Sydney Australia 11 March 2023. EFE-EPA FILE/BIANCA DE MARCHI AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT
It was a “decade during which Australia’s population grew by 3 million, but we actually lost 3000 megawatts of dispatchable power” and “24 coal-fired power stations announced their closures, and eight coal-fired power stations were closed,” he explained.
Albanese recalled that Australia’s goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 205 million tons by 2030 and that renewable energies accounted for 35 percent of the entire country’s energy generation in the 12 months ending in March – up almost 20 percent on the previous period.
He also put special emphasis on solar energy, which in 2023 will “attract more capital than global oil production for the first time. And no one is as rich in sunshine as we are.”
Likewise, he highlighted the development of the electric vehicle industry, which runs on lithium, citing that global sales of these cars grew by 55 percent in 2022, while in Australia sales soared by 121 percent in the first half of the year compared to the same period in 2022.
“By the end of this decade, demand for electric vehicle battery materials is expected to grow five-fold and will require the equivalent of 50 new lithium mines, 60 new nickel mines and 17 new cobalt mines, worldwide,” he said.
Over the next five years, he added, the value of Australian lithium and base metal exports is expected to equal the combined value of thermal and metallurgical coal, so Australia’s lithium production could be used to make 8.2 million batteries annually – equivalent to more than a third of all cars in the country.
Within this framework, Albanese announced that the government will soon release its first National Battery Strategy, in which it will detail actions to boost the battery manufacturing industry.
“The government’s commitment to becoming a renewable energy superpower is targeted at stimulating investment in priority energy infrastructure,” he said.
These investments also include an additional fund of AU$2.5 billion ($1.6 billion) for renewable hydrogen projects, as well as the promotion of thousands of new energy apprenticeships to prepare the market once the energy transition is complete. EFE