While net-zero emissions by 2050 is the destination for Australia’s emissions, the critical questions are how will we get there and at what rate. This is currently unclear. The Australian Energy Transition Research Plan’s first report was released in June 2021 and emphasises that the research and innovation sector will play a critical role in paving a ‘clever pathway’ for Australia to reach this target. Further, there is the opportunity to help reduce global emissions through the export of Australian research breakthroughs and by pivoting our export future towards renewable energy-intensive products.
There are three critical limbs for research and innovation to paving this pathway:
- appropriate prioritisation of urgent and strategic research (refer to Report One)
- the funding of that priority research and
- the translation of this research to impact – the last being the focus of this paper.
Combined, the prioritisation and translation of appropriate research can help support an Australian energy transition that efficiently and effectively addresses the energy trilemma domestically and globally, reaching net-zero emissions reliably and affordably while ensuring a fair and equitable transition.