Australia and the US state of California have pledged to co-operate on energy transition technology, with their respective agencies to develop specific projects in consultation with industry and academic partners.
The initial agreement is aiming to create a framework for co-operation on climate action and ecosystem protection, including through the creation of clean jobs and inclusive economic growth, the Australian federal government announced on 16 August.
The scheme will not grant access to the US Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) but instead partner Australia, which is seeking to boost its renewable energy generation to 82pc by 2023, with a “like-minded government”, Australia’s energy minister Chris Bowen said in a radio interview.
“They have about half of their energy, in-state energy generation, being renewables. Their solar is about 27pc, their EV policy is very advanced,” Bowen said. “There’s a lot we can work on together, and certainly [California] governor [Gavin] Newsom made clear to me that he was keen to collaborate on things like EV charging and joint learning.”
The initiative will not include any new money and funding will come from an existing budget within the energy department for international engagement, Bowen said.
“California and Australia are on the front lines of the climate crisis. From extreme heat and historic drought to catastrophic wildfires and rising sea levels, the last few years have further crystallised the need for urgent action,” Newsom said on 15 August in California’s state capital Sacramento where the agreement was signed.
The deal follows a May US-Australia accord outlining climate and clean energy as a “central pillar” of the 72-year old US-Australia alliance under which Australia is hoping to gain access to the IRA under the US Defence Production Act, if approved by Congress.
The nations have deepened their military ties in recent years with the Aukus pact, under which Australia will partner with the US and UK on developing nuclear-powered submarines.
Sacramento earlier this month agreed on a similar deal with China’s Hainan province to co-operate on climate change issues.
California, the world’s fifth-largest economy by political division, has enacted laws backing carbon neutrality by 2045.