Renewables are powering to the top, but not for long
31 July 2019 at 4:27 pm
The renewables sector has experienced two years of unprecedented growth, but a lack of government policy is threatening the sector’s future, new survey results show.
In 2018, $20 billion of private investment was pumped into large-scale renewable energy, making it the biggest year for rooftop solar and positioning the country to meet the government’s large-scale renewable energy target by 2020.
But a Clean Energy Council (CEC) survey of 75 chief renewables executives, released at the Australian Clean Energy Summit on Tuesday, found respondents were fearful investments would dry up due to a lack of government policy beyond 2020.
The survey found investment confidence in renewables had dropped from 7.1 points out of 10 at the end of 2018, to 6.59 out of 10 in July 2019.
The expected employment figures in the sector also dropped from 83 per cent in 2018 to 62 per cent in mid 2019.
Survey respondents reported that they believed the transition to renewables would continue but it would be at a slower pace than if the federal election had gone the other way.
“The recent federal election result has reduced this score for me,” the respondents said.
They also said they believed investment was driven by state policy rather than national policy.
Kane Thornton, CEO of the Clean Energy Council, said poor policy planning and poor grid connection and network access were some of the biggest issues holding the sector back.
“While the industry is working closely with the Australian Energy Market Operator and the energy networks to address the challenges with the grid, these are complex issues which take time, planning, major investment and political support,” Thornton said.
He said there was a need for a long-term commitment to grow the sector rather than new subsidies.
“The momentum of this industry is incredible, but without some form of national policy leadership, investment in new clean energy will be more challenging,” he said.
“I’m looking forward to hearing perspectives about what the future holds from some of the most insightful people in the country and beyond.”
Around 800 renewable energy and sustainability delegates have attended the Clean Energy Summit in Sydney over the past two days.
Speakers included the chair of Tesla, Robyn Denholm, Victorian energy minister Lily D’Ambrosio, and Australia’s chief scientist Alan Finkel.