Pressure is mounting on carbon intensive industries as Australian businesses work towards net zero goals. This comes as no surprise as the industry sector accounts for 44 per cent of Australia’s total emissions; five supply chains contribute an estimated 25 per cent. But finger pointing is unproductive and pointless, coordinated action is what’s needed. Everyone has a role to play. At Karit, we’re helping heavy industry to plan for the energy transition and maximise investments in distributed energy resources.

A recent report shows that emissions from major heavy industry supply chains in Australia could be reduced by 92 per cent by 2050 without offsets. The report highlights the pivotal role that renewable energy technologies play in facilitating the rapid decarbonisation of these industries.

The Australian Industry Energy Transitions Initiative (ETI) recently released a blueprint for a whole of economy approach to decarbonising five of Australia’s major industrial supply chains including steel, aluminium, liquified natural gas, selected metals and chemicals. This three-year initiative was produced in collaboration with companies that represent around a fifth of Australia’s industrial emissions.

The report shows that Australia’s top emitting industries could cut direct greenhouse gas emissions by 92 per cent by 2050 if backed by coordinated action with industry, finance and government support.

As outlined in the report, to enable heavy industry to transition to net zero emissions consistent with global efforts to limit warming to 1.5ºC, Australia will need to:

  • Set a strong, clear, enduring framework with a net zero emissions goal to align industry, finance and government
  • Transition to the large-scale, cost-competitive, renewable energy system of the future
  • Accelerate development and demonstration of the emerging technologies needed
  • Drive deployment of low-carbon solutions, reduce barriers and support investment towards the transition
  • Develop integrated net zero emissions industrial regions, supply chains and energy network solutions.

Renewable energy is a ‘critical enabler’

Renewable energy and technologies have a pivotal role to play in facilitating the rapid decarbonisation of heavy industry supply chains. A significant transformation of the current energy system is urgently needed.

The report identifies a ‘Coordinated action scenario’, in which 600TWh/yr of electricity could be needed by 2050. This would require a 2-fold increase in Australia’s total current electricity generation and 260GW of renewable capacity.