Australia's green banks will prioritise investments in hydrogen and carbon capture technologies over solar and wind, as part of the Morrison government's plan to cut carbon emissions and accelerate the country's economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
In a speech to the National Press Club on Tuesday, Energy and Emissions Reductions Minister Angus Taylor will unveil the government's Technology Investment Roadmap.
As part of the strategy, the government will invest more than $18 billion in new energy technologies over the next 10 years.
However, key agencies like the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), and the Clean Energy Regulator will be required to prioritise investment in technology like clean hydrogen, electricity from storage for firming, low carbon steel and aluminium carbon capture and storage, and soil carbon.
Agencies must report on actions they are taking to accelerate the development of these technologies.
The government will only invest in coal, gas, solar and wind if there is a clear market failure, like a shortage of dispatchable generation, or to shore up jobs in key industries.
Investment in other technologies like electric vehicle charging stations or virtual power plants will continue, but will be a lower priority.
The ministerial council headed by Australia's chief scientist, Dr Alan Finkel, will become a permanent institution to guide the roadmap.
Mr Taylor will liken the bid to slash greenhouse gas emissions to the race for a COVID-19 vaccine, saying, the nation must "follow the lessons of history" and use technology to "solve our hardest problems".
"With COVID it is the race for better prevention, treatment and ultimately a vaccine. This is the only way to avoid economy-sapping shut downs," Mr Taylor will say.
"In emissions reduction it is the race for cost-effective low and negative emissions technologies that will strengthen our economy not weaken it."
Mr Taylor will say there are only two ways to cut emissions - suppressing them through some version of taxation or improving them.
"Australia can't and shouldn't damage its economy to reduce emissions," he will say.
Mr Taylor will argue Australia is already a leader in renewable energy investment, deploying wind and solar at "10 times the global per capita average".
It comes after Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Sunday Australia could achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 with the right technology.
However, Mr Morrison refused to commit to such a target, in a prerecorded interview with the ABC's Insiders program.
ARENA and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation were set up by the Gillard government in 2012 to lower emissions and help the country transition to clean energy.
In 2018-19, ARENA funded $228 million in renewables projects, including 60 fast charging stations for electric vehicles and the first utility scale waste-to-energy facility.
But the federal government last week moved to expand its remit to include investments in carbon capture and use, carbon sequestration and hydrogen.
Mr Morrison pledged a "gas-led recovery" from the coronavirus recession, promising Commonwealth backing for a new gas-fired power station in the Hunter Valley if the Liddell coal-fired power station was not replaced and support for new gas fields and pipelines in order to make gas cheaper for manufacturers and households.
The Greens have vowed to block the legislation in the Senate, while crossbencher Zali Steggall said the government was moving the goalposts to include coal and gas in the definition of clean and low emissions.
"The shift allows money previously destined to fund renewable energy sources to be spent on carbon capture and storage and prolong the life of the fossil fuel industry," she said at the time.