Australian steel making giant Bluescope has snubbed gas as a pathway to achieving net zero, and will focus instead on increasing its use of wind and solar and focusing on longer term solutions such as green hydrogen.
Bluescope on Monday announced on Monday it was committed to a net zero emissions target for its scope 1 and scope 2 emissions – a significant target for a major emitter, and follows the commitment last week by aluminium smelter Tomago to switch from coal to renewables by the end of the decade.
The commitment by Bluescope leaves the federal Coalition government even more isolated, as it refuses to adopt a net zero by 2050 target, despite the fact that all states and territories have signed jp to do so, and an increasing number of major corporates and polluters.
Bluescope CEO Mark Vassella said reaching net zero would not be easy, and indicated that the build of reductions would only be achieved after 2030 as new technologies, including using renewable hydrogen in the steel making process, emerged and proved a commercial success.
In the interim, Bluescope has a target of reducing its emissions intensity by what seems to be a modest one per cent a year, by focusing on renewables, efficiency and recycling.
But – in yet another blow to the Coalition’s wish for a “gas-led recovery” – Bluescope also made clear it wasn’t interested in gas-based emissions reduction solutions, because they were too expensive, and said its net zero target would need policy support.
“Gas is not a viable near term option,” Vassella said, due to its high costs.
The company said that achieving the 2050 net zero goal is dependent on several enablers, including the commerciality of emerging and breakthrough technologies, the availability of affordable and reliable renewable energy and hydrogen, raw materials and “appropriate public policy settings.”
“This is not just about throwing money around on speculative ideas,” Vassella told analysts in a briefing. “We’ve made the commitment with some incredibly talented and capable people … who are focused on future technologies, focused on renewables.”
Bluescope already has a 7-year power purchase agreement with the 170MW Finley solar farm in NSW, and has also identified the wind and solar industries as customers of its own steel products.