Australia and US partnership: Cooperating on critical mineral supply chains

Jennifer M. Granholm, United States Secretary of Energy, and Chris Bowen, Australia’s Minister for Climate Change and Energy, signed the ‘Australia – United States Net Zero Technology Acceleration Partnership’ at the Sydney Energy Forum on 12 July 2022.

This formal partnership intends to accelerate the development and deployment of zero emissions technology and cooperate on critical minerals supply chains to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while supercharging economic growth.

“The Australia – United States Net Zero Technology Acceleration Partnership reflects our nations’ joint commitment to grow our energy capacity and obtain the full advantages of affordable, diverse, and secure clean energy,” explained Jennifer M. Granholm.

“With today’s partnership, our two countries will work together to unlock critical advances in long-duration storage, grid integration, clean hydrogen, direct air capture, and critical minerals and materials – providing an essential opportunity to export the innovations that will accelerate the global clean energy transition.”

“This partnership is a huge milestone in ramping up the US and Australia’s shared commitment to ambitious climate action and energy security,” added Chris Bowen. “It prioritises not just development but the deployment of the critical technologies that will underpin economic opportunity in the energy transformation of our two countries.”

The partnership was signed on the same day as a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Commonwealth Scientific, Research, and Industry Organisation (CSIRO) and the United States National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) at the Sydney Energy Forum. The MoU is an example of the increasing cooperation between Australia and the United States to develop clean energy technologies.

Reducing emissions is a global effort

It has been observed that reducing emissions while growing the economies and jobs is both a challenge and an opportunity that requires a global effort. Currently, threats to global energy markets and energy security make international cooperation even more important. This partnership is the first step in delivering on the US Government’s commitment to making climate change a centrepiece of the US alliance. Additionally, it reinforces the shared commitment to urgent action to deliver the ambitious 2030 targets and reach net zero by 2050.

Furthermore, this partnership will build on the long-standing cooperation between the two countries, which share many of the same challenges in decarbonising their economies. The collaboration will be practical and inclusive of industry, research, and the private sector. This will drive investment, trade, and development of commercial opportunities between the countries in low and zero emissions technologies and the critical materials that will cause them.

The initial areas for cooperation under the partnership include the development of long-duration energy storage technologies and digital electricity grids and technology to support the integration of variable renewable energy, hydrogen, and carbon dioxide removal, including direct air capture.

Additionally, the new partnership recognises the critical role of more diversified sources of critical minerals that will contribute to the energy transition, extending cooperation to building supply chains integral to the deployment of clean energy technologies.

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