There have been recent movements from important sources setting out a vision for Australia to transition to a renewable energy powerhouse. These sources include cutting edge Australian companies, the CSIRO and leading policy advisors, such as Ross Garnaut.
These movements have been neatly summarised by Mazengarb (Mazengarb, M 2019, ‘Renewable Hydrogen Getting Cheaper, Australia Could Lead Global Market’, Renew Economy, 5 June 2019, viewed 7 June 2019, < https://reneweconomy.com.au/renewable-hydrogen-getting-cheaper-australia-could-lead-global-market-95168/ >). He cites key evidence and opportunities, including hydrogen based technologies. Hydrogen can be used to store energy, and power future cars and other vehicles. South Korea and Japan would be key trading partners, and are already positioning themselves to take advantage of such technologies.
Australia is rich in renewables, potentially more so than fossil fuels. Renewables are unlimited and with scale, cheap. Fossil fuels are limited in supply and costly. From solar and wind to hydrogen and beyond, there is immense potential for Australia to lead the technological and business charge in the transition to a low carbon economy. This can spawn an array of opportunities for the investment and business communities. For instance, there is no reason why Australia could not create a renewable energy grid, and then feed energy to growing economies in South East Asia, such as Indonesia.
Australia is now at a crossroad. If it takes visionary, focused steps soon, it can potentially be a world leader in specialised energy technology, including renewables. The above early steps are occurring at a pivotal time. In 2019 Australia’s GDP is falling, domestic consumption is weak, the property sector is still struggling with bubble conditions, and iron ore and gas are the only areas of likely short-term strength. Australia’s long-term economic independence and competitive advantage require it to marry emerging technologies with global opportunities for, not only a stronger economy, but a more sustainable future.
As the Australian investing and business communities begin to come together in the renewables space, they have the potential to move beyond the vacuum of Australian government policy. They are re-assessing risk and reward, and seeing the genius of converging trends. It is in this convergence where Environmental and Social Governance (ESG) or Sustainability have moved from the outer to centre stage. Those proactive investors and businesses that seize the opportunities, can create a new, specialist sector for Australia’s long-term independence and competitive advantage.
“Australia is now at a crossroad. If it takes visionary, focused steps soon, it can potentially be a world leader in specialised energy technology, including renewables.”
By Lee Spano, Creatness International www.creatness.com