RP1.1-06 – Net Zero Australia

Executive Summary

With this project, Future Fuels CRC joins the Net Zero Australia (NZAu) consortium.  The project will quantify the potential benefits, costs, and impacts of a future Australian economy that is built on clean, secure, and affordable energy services, and which makes efficient use of all Australia’s energy resources.

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Commencement / End Date October 2021 to June 2023
Project Overview

Many Australian organisations – governments, businesses, and not-for-profits –  are making public commitments to reach net zero emissions by 2050. As the national debate moves from whether to decarbonise to how it can be done, it is crucial to map the path to net zero with greater rigour and detail. 

Fundamental questions remain to be answered. Which energy sources will we use? Where will they be located? How quickly and at what cost can we reach net zero with full renewables, and with a mixed energy base? What benefits will high electrification and energy efficiency provide? Can we fully decarbonise every sector or will ‘negative emissions’ be needed? What powerlines and pipelines will need to be built? What appliances, vehicles, and industrial processes must we convert to? Can we replace fossil fuel exports with clean alternatives? What community and business concerns need to be addressed? And how can governments, businesses and communities make such a profound change happen?

 The Net Zero Australia Project will be the first study to answer these questions with the rigour, detail, transparency and impartiality that will give governments, businesses, NGOs and communities confidence to use them – to design policies, identify investment opportunities, develop advocacy positions, and plan for the transition. It will also be the first study to allow open access to methodology, data and modelling.

The NZAu study will not recommend a preferred pathway or critique current policies; instead, it will present the costs and benefits of each scenario. All methods, data and results will be made publicly available.

For more information see the NZAu study website:

Outcomes / Impact

The Net Zero Australia Project will:

  • consider all prospective options to decarbonise the energy, industrial and transport sectors whilst enhancing the natural land sink;
  • incorporate real-world constraints that reflect the complexities, risks and uncertainties of this massive task;
  • assess the contribution that Australian exports can make to global decarbonisation whilst potentially offsetting the national and regional impacts caused by the decline in traditional fossil fuelled industries; and
  • ‘downscale’ the modelled pathways to illustrate the actual build-out of assets and infrastructure with a high level of spatial and temporal granularity.

The conclusions and recommendations will help governments, businesses, and communities to devise strategies to achieve carbon neutrality as a supporting resource and not as polarising advice or advocacy.

Partners University of Queensland, University of Melbourne
Research Contact

Dr Stephen McGrail