Purpose and contentShow more
What is the Sectoral emissions reduction strategy for Western Australia (SERS)?
Released as a consolidated strategy on 13 December 2023, the Sectoral emissions reduction strategy for Western Australia sets out priorities and tangible actions for reducing emissions to support the State Government’s target of net zero emissions by 2050. It outlines key technologies and pathways for reducing sectoral emissions in Western Australia.
Who developed the SERS?
The SERS was developed by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation in collaboration with key State Government agencies and with oversight by the Ministerial Taskforce on Climate Action. Agencies that contributed to the development of the SERS included:
- Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (lead)
- Department of the Premier and Cabinet
- Department of Treasury
- Department of Energy, Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety
- Energy Policy WA (Department of Energy, Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety)
- Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation
- Department of Transport
- Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development
- Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage
- Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions
- Department of Finance
- Department of Communities.
Which sectors were included in the SERS?
The SERS addressed key sectors of the economy, covering all major sources of emissions. These include emissions from electricity, industry transport, agriculture and land use, buildings and waste.
How have sectoral interactions been addressed in SERS?
Activities to reduce emissions in some sectors will have significant implications for other sectors. For example, electrifying industry and transport, and developing a renewable hydrogen industry, will result in a step change in electricity demand. This will in turn affect how electricity is supplied and generated, and how demand is managed. Lowering the emissions intensity of electricity will have positive flow-on effects for reducing emissions in other sectors.
Moving to a circular economy will assist not only to reduce waste emissions, but also to reduce emissions from other sectors, including industry, electricity, buildings and agriculture.
The whole-of-economy energy systems modelling undertaken for the SERS has enabled the investigation of pathways for individual sectors, as well as interactions between different sectors.
Will all sectors need to completely decarbonise by 2050?
Not necessarily. The availability of cost-effective and technically feasible abatement solutions will vary for different sectors and different industries. The International Energy Agency’s Net Zero by 2050: A Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector acknowledges that reducing emissions in some sectors is technically feasible and cost effective, while other sectors will take longer to decarbonise or require the development of new technologies.
Energy systems modelling undertaken for the SERS shows residual emissions in some sectors in 2050 are offset by carbon removals in the land sector and through technologies such as direct air capture.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change acknowledges that not all emissions can be avoided, and active removal of CO2 from the atmosphere will be required to balance emissions from sources that are too difficult, or too costly, to abate.
Does the SERS address scope 3 emissions?
Yes, scope 3 emissions that are generated from activities within Western Australia’s geographic borders are included in the SERS. Emissions that occur outside of the state are excluded.
This approach avoids double counting of emissions and is consistent with the Australian Government’s development of national and sub-national inventories, and the National Greenhouse Accounts which underpin Australia’s reporting to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
What analysis was undertaken for the SERS?
The State Government conducted whole-of-economy energy systems modelling in partnership with Climateworks Centre and the CSIRO to provide an evidence base to support policy development.
Modelling considered several different scenarios, along with local and global factors, to explore least-cost pathways to net zero emissions, no-regrets options, and priority actions for government. Economy-wide modelling was supported by extensive consultation and complemented by sectoral modelling to evaluate more detailed sector-specific and regional implications and ensure robust outcomes.
Western Australia’s analysis has been informed by the Australian Industry Energy Transitions Initiative to ensure assumptions, such as technology costs and availability, are robust and consistent with those validated by key industry stakeholders.
Have other jurisdictions done this?
Yes. Most Australian jurisdictions have developed, or are developing, net zero plans or strategies. The Australian Government is developing a national net zero plan, with sectoral components which are broadly aligned to the SERS.
What analysis has been released as part of the SERS?
The SERS outlines key modelling results that supported development of policy initiatives and actions.
Modelling for the SERS identified feasible, least-cost emissions reductions in each sector of the economy to 2050, aligned with technology and costs assumptions of the Australian Industry Energy Transitions Initiative.
Whole-of-economy modelling has been complemented by detailed electricity modelling, which shows the step change in electricity demand and new capacity needed in the state’s main electricity grid and in the Pilbara to support Western Australia’s transition to net zero emissions.
The modelling provides an indication of emissions and removals in different parts of the economy in 2050, as well as important benchmarks for Western Australia’s transition, such as the percentage of renewable energy in the electricity grid in 2030, 2040 and 2050.
Modelling undertaken for the SERS underscores the imperative for key policies and investments, particularly in electricity networks and electrification.
Has the State Government engaged the Australian Government in development of the SERS?
Yes. The State Government has worked closely with the Australian Government to ensure State-based policy analysis and modelling incorporates the impact of national measures, such as the effect of Rewiring the Nation and the reforms to the Australian Government’s Safeguard Mechanism. The SERS is designed to complement Australian Government policies and plans.
Delivery of SERSShow more
Has the State Government committed new funding as part of the SERS?
Significant new funding has been announced to support decarbonisation of the state’s economy.
$708 million is being invested to transform the state’s main electricity network, the South West Interconnected System (SWIS), to enable connection of large-scale renewable energy.
An additional $74 million has been announced for new initiatives in the SERS, including funding to:
- expand the Clean Energy Future Fund
- develop and deliver a Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage Action Plan
- streamline the assessment of priority electricity transmission infrastructure projects
- support decarbonisation planning and clean energy adoption in Horizon Power towns
- install almost 70 additional electric vehicle chargers at new METRONET stations
- increase the State Government’s electric vehicle target to at least 50 per cent of eligible new vehicles by 1 July 2025.
This funding comes on top of a previously announced investment of $3.8 billion in new energy storage, wind energy generation and transmission network upgrades for the SWIS.
The State Government has also secured an allocation of up to $3 billion in concessional financing from the Australian Government’s Rewiring the Nation program for transmission infrastructure in the Pilbara and the SWIS.
How has the State Government identified priorities for funding through the SERS?
Extensive consultation, policy analysis and modelling has informed the development of the SERS initiatives. The SERS is designed to address key barriers to decarbonisation identified by stakeholders and recognises the important role of renewable energy and electrification in decarbonising the state’s economy.
How will the SERS be implemented?
The SERS builds on a significant program of work underway to facilitate decarbonisation in Western Australia and the transition of our energy system. Implementation details for new initiatives contained in the SERS are set out in its appendix.
Will the implementation of the SERS be monitored to ensure outcomes are achieved?
Implementation of the SERS will be coordinated through Western Australia’s Ministerial Taskforce on Climate Action, chaired by the Minister for Climate Action. The Taskforce will be responsible for monitoring implementation of initiatives and evaluating their effectiveness in transitioning the state’s economy to net zero emissions.
The Climate Change Bill 2023, introduced to Parliament in November 2023, will require annual reporting from 2025 to inform the Parliament and the community about Western Australia’s progress in achieving its emissions reduction targets.
How will the State Government address the future workforce needs to support the net zero transition?
The State and Australian governments have signed a five-year National Skills Agreement to embed investment in Western Australia’s vocational education and training sector and address critical skills needs in the state. The package will deliver $1.2 billion in flexible funding to deliver skills for critical and emerging industries including clean energy and net zero transformation.
As part of the SERS, electricity sector workforce projections for Western Australia will be developed to allow stakeholders – including government agencies, training providers and the electricity industry – to understand the employment implications of alternative electricity scenarios.
How will the State Government consider emerging technologies and opportunities to accelerate the transition to net zero?
The SERS will support development of emerging abatement technologies by de-risking and building social licence for critical technologies. Key initiatives include:
- development of a Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage Action Plan to enhance policy certainty, attract investment, enable the accelerated deployment of proven technology and infrastructure, and support development of emerging technology
- extension of the Clean Energy Future Fund to support innovative projects that reduce the state’s emissions and create local jobs
- investment in new energy projects through the State Government’s Investment Attraction Fund
- delivery of a detailed engineering design study for a green iron pilot facility.
Western Australia’s climate change legislation will require ongoing development of policies and pathways to achieve the transition to net zero emissions, and ensure policies and programs respond to emerging technology developments and gaps.
Will the State Government set interim targets in the SERS?
The State Government is acting now to reduce emissions and is committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2050. The Climate Change Bill 2023 will require the setting of interim net emission targets for the years 2035, 2040 and 2045.
The first interim target for 2035 requires an emissions budget for the years 2031 to 2035 which must be set as soon as practicable after the Australian Government sets its corresponding target, which will occur in 2025. This timeframe allows government, business and industry to make the necessary investments to deliver deep cuts to emissions and establish a pathway to net zero emissions.
Will the SERS be updated to support Western Australia’s 2035 interim target?
The Climate Change Bill 2023 ensures a continued focus on climate change mitigation, with requirements for ongoing policy development, review and reporting. The first statutory emissions reduction strategy must be prepared within three years of the legislation coming into operation.
Who was consulted in development of the SERS?
The SERS was informed by consultation with a broad range of stakeholders across the Western Australian economy over the past two years through a process coordinated by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation in partnership with other State Government agencies. Consultation was conducted through a variety of formats including one-on-one consultation, industry meetings, workshops, forums and questionnaires.
Consultation involved more than 200 stakeholders including electricity market participants, businesses covered by the Australian Government's Safeguard Mechanism, and peak bodies covering energy, mining, resources, waste, transport, construction, development, environment, agriculture, horticulture, and forestry.
When was consultation on the SERS undertaken?
Consultation was undertaken throughout 2022 and 2023.
What were the key consultation outcomes?
Consultation enabled the State Government to understand the important trends, barriers and opportunities that decarbonisation presents in the Western Australian context. Outcomes that have been prioritised in the SERS include transforming the electricity network, reducing timeframes for green energy projects, and addressing critical skills needs. Key messages resulting from consultation for each sector are outlined in the SERS report.
Stakeholder feedback on decarbonisation enablers included the need for:
- streamlined approvals for renewable energy and transmission projects
- access to land
- a skilled workforce
- support to address technology risk and stimulate innovation
- accessible and efficient electric vehicle charging infrastructure
- research, development and demonstration of decarbonisation methods for hard-to-abate agriculture sectors
- electrification and implementation of energy efficiency measures for buildings.
Implications for households, business and industryShow more
What are implications for industry?
The SERS does not create an additional regulatory burden for businesses. New initiatives contained in the SERS will reduce barriers to emissions reduction and support businesses and industry to meet the goal of net zero by 2050.
Key enablers in the SERS package include:
- streamlining approvals for major clean energy projects and transmission
- improving coordination for delivery of new energy infrastructure through PoweringWA
- investing in transmission infrastructure to connect new renewable energy capacity
- establishing renewable generation hubs in the Pilbara in consultation with affected communities, including Traditional Owners
- developing electricity sector workforce projections to understand the employment implications of alternative electricity scenarios
- developing a Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage Action Plan to enhance policy certainty, attract investment, enable deployment of proven technology, and support development of emerging technology
- trialling and demonstration of new technologies through the Clean Energy Future Fund and New Energies Industries steam of the Investment Attraction Fund.
Will SERS duplicate initiatives implemented by the Australian Government?
The SERS has been designed to complement the national emissions reduction framework, including the Australian Government’s Safeguard Mechanism.
The State Government considered Australian Government policies and plans when developing the SERS to ensure that initiatives are complementary.
Are there emissions targets for individual sectors like electricity, industry, agriculture and transport?
The SERS does not set emissions reduction targets for Western Australia or for individual sectors. The Climate Change Bill 2023 will require the setting of whole-of-economy interim net emission targets for the years 2035, 2040 and 2045. The first interim target for 2035 requires an emissions budget for the years 2031 to 2035 which must be set as soon as practicable after the Australian Government sets its corresponding target, which will occur in 2025. This timeframe allows government, business and industry to make the necessary investments to deliver deep cuts to emissions and establish a pathway to net zero emissions.
What are the implications for households?
Measures to increase renewable energy and energy efficiency have the added benefit of easing cost-of-living pressures for households. Firmed renewable energy from wind and solar remains the cheapest form of new electricity generation build in the state.
The net zero transition provides an important opportunity to empower Aboriginal people through community-owned renewable projects, partnerships with industry and job opportunities.
Achieving a just transition will enable all Western Australian households and business, including those in the regions, to participate in the new energy landscape and share in the positive environmental benefits and lower energy costs.
What are the implications for Aboriginal people and the regions?
Regional areas are well placed to take advantage of economic opportunities related to reducing emissions, deploying renewable energy and sequestering carbon. The expansion of renewable energy infrastructure offers a chance to create a wide range of new industries and jobs that are suited to regional areas.
The transition will also create opportunities for Aboriginal people, through nature-based solutions, large-scale renewable energy projects and transmission infrastructure on land where they have rights and interests.
The SERS includes initiatives to support Aboriginal people to make informed decisions about energy transformation projects and to lead, and participate in, opportunities presented by the net zero transition.
The SERS will also deliver clean energy solutions for regional and remote households through the Kimberely Communities Solar Savers Program, the Sunshine Saver Program, and support for clean energy adoption in Horizon Power towns.
What are the implications for small and medium enterprises (SMEs)?
Measures to increase renewable energy and energy efficiency have the added benefit of easing cost pressures for SMEs, wherever they are located. Firmed renewable energy from wind and solar remains the cheapest form of new electricity generation build in the state.
The State and Australian governments have signed a five-year National Skills Agreement to embed investment in Western Australia’s vocational education and training sector and address critical skills needs in the state.
Through the implementation of the SERS, the State Government will work with industry stakeholders to investigate further support required by Western Australian SMEs to reduce emissions.