As time runs out to keep global climate goals within reach, governments are scrambling for anything that can help them meet their Paris Agreement goals and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. In a new report, Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) cited nine key technologies that, if harnessed, could bring the world back on track.

Despite the record investment in renewables in recent years, CO2 emissions have continued to rise, reaching record levels in 2023. BNEF notes there is no single solution for transforming the global energy system: “Instead, the transition to a net-zero economy will be underpinned by nine technology pillars working in concert to address different elements of the decarbonization challenge.” 

To deliver on our climate goals, the report says all this will need to happen:

  • Wind and solar to triple from 2023 levels by 2030.
  • Battery storage capacity to increase by a factor of 50.
  • Nuclear power to triple (to provide a baseload complement to wind and solar).
  • Global power grid to double to 111mn kilometers in length.
  • Clean hydrogen use to hit 390mn metric tons per year – four times today’s fossil fuel-based hydrogen demand.
  • Sustainable aviation fuel consumption to hit 88bn gallons, up from minimal levels today.
  • EV fleet to grow to 1.5bn, with no new internal combustion engine vehicles or new internal combustion engines sold after 2034.
  • Heat pumps to reach over 500mn units, nearly ten times today’s levels.
  • CCS to grow to 8bn metric tons per annum.

Of these nine pillars, BNEF notes that “only four are mature, commercially scalable technologies with proven business models” — renewables, energy storage, power grids and EVs. In contrast, BNEF argues that nuclear, CCS, hydrogen, sustainable aviation fuels and heat pumps “are not currently cost-competitive or commercially scaling up” but must do so rapidly.

So, how does Australia compare to these nine pillars, recognizing that not all may be relevant for all jurisdictions? In a nutshell, much remains to be done.

Wind & solar 👍

Significant progress is being achieved but new renewables developments face increasing social license challenges. Grid congestion is limiting opportunities for new developments in much of the NEM.

Battery storage 👉

Significant progress is being achieved and there are substantial potential new battery installations. However, there is quite a lot of uncertainty with commercial drivers, particularly for longer-duration battery storage.

Power grid  👉

In its annual Electricity Statement of Opportunities, the Australian Energy Market Operator identified several actionable transmission projects. Many are already under construction. However, the progress of other much-needed transmission projects is being hampered by a lack of community support.

Nuclear 👎

There is no bipartisan support for nuclear power generation, which is now illegal. While the opposition Liberal Party has launched a new push for nuclear power garnering significant community support, it is difficult to see private capital investing in such a partisan environment — even if the prohibition was repealed.

Clean hydrogen 👎

There has been very limited progress, although recent government initiatives under the Future Made in Australia banner offer production tax credits for each H2 molecule produced. While this is a positive step, the lack of bipartisan support for the scheme will scare off private capital.

Sustainable aviation fuels 👎

Limited to no progress and an almost complete absence of policy initiatives to drive new investment.

EVs  👉

Significant uptake is occurring. New vehicle emission standards have been introduced, with additional incentives for vehicle manufacturers to increase sales into the Australian market. However, a large rump of society remains skeptical of the merits of EVs.

Heat pumps 👍

Given Australia’s generally warm climate, heat pumps are competitive relative to fossil-fuel alternatives. However, uptake is limited and new installations are largely confined to new housing developments and end-of-life appliance changeovers. Even in the latter case, uptake is limited by gas abandonment costs and often required electrical upgrades.


While Australia has the largest CCS project in the world—Chevron’s in Gorgon—CCS is a contentious technology in Australia. Support across the political divide is tenuous, and CCS is met with derision from the green movement. Glencore’s Queensland-based CCS project has been rejected on environmental grounds, representing a significant blow to the CCS sector.

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