The Australian Clean Energy Summit 2023, held at the International Convention Centre in Darling Harbour, Sydney, brought together industry leaders, policymakers, and experts from across the country.
The aim? To address both the pressing challenges and opportunities in transforming the clean energy sector across our country.
It was also free to attend – an amazing opportunity for everyone involved in powering Australia towards a net-zero future.
Over two days of insightful discussions, the summit shed light on various aspects of the clean energy transition, showcasing Australia’s potential to become a global clean energy superpower. What does the future hold for Australian energy? Are solar panels and solar batteries really worth it? Will Australia ever become carbon-neutral? It was all on the table.
Still, perhaps you missed the summit, are keen to know what was discussed, or perhaps you attended and need a quick-fire summary of the major themes of discussion.
Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered!
Here are five key learnings from the 2023 Australian Clean Energy Summit, summarised by our team.
1. The importance of time-matched renewables for net-zero emissions in Australia was a major topic of discussion
One of the critical challenges discussed in the race towards achieving net-zero emissions is ensuring the seamless integration of renewable energy supply with demand.
At the conference, the session “True zero: the rise of 24/7 time-matched renewables” explored the growing momentum towards granular time-matching of renewable electricity supply to consumption.
Read that again. Bit unsure of what it means? Put simply, it’s recognised that in order to ensure a smooth transition to renewables, we need to match the supply of renewables with the likely demand – and before fossil fuels fun out.
In Australia, the demand for renewable energy is on the rise, with solar and wind energy capacity increasing substantially over the years. According to the recent Clean Energy Australia Report, renewable energy sources contributed to around 30% of Australia’s total electricity generation, showing promising progress towards a sustainable future.
But there’s still a long way to go. If we keep burning fossil fuels at our current rate, it is generally estimated that all fossil fuels will be depleted by the time we hit 2060.
2. Australia’s increasing potential as a clean energy superpower was emphasised
This probably won’t come as a surprise to you: Australia has vast, untapped potential to become a global clean energy superpower.
Another key session of the conference, “Realising Australia’s renewable energy superpower potential” highlighted the country’s progress in decarbonising the economy and its impact on various aspects like energy prices, security, employment, and economic opportunities in rural and regional areas specifically.
In fact, across Australia, employment in renewable electricity generation (hydro plus other) currently accounts for around 34% of total employment in electricity – and the numbers are set to rise based on increasing demand into the future.
According to the Climate Council’s Clean Jobs Plan, transitioning to a clean energy economy could create over 76,000 jobs by 2025. The potential for Australia to export a greater number and variety of clean energy technologies, such as green hydrogen, to the global market was also highlighted.
The big positive? This has the potential to highlight and spur on Australia’s economic growth throughout the world, positioning it as a leading player in the global renewable energy sector.
3. The conference discussed methods of financing clean energy and creating more sustainable supply chains
One big point discussed was the fact that attracting capital and financing clean energy projects accelerates the transition to renewables. What’s more, this is vital for mitigating climate change and ensuring a sustainable future.
It’s generally recognised that this can be achieved in the following ways:
- Investment in innovation: Fuels R&D, driving clean energy advancements and overall technological progress
- Scaling up renewable infrastructure: Supports large-scale projects, meeting growing energy demands
- Economic growth and job creation: Stimulates diverse job opportunities and economic development
- Risk mitigation: Broadens investor base, enhances project feasibility, and government incentives reduce risks
- Long-term cost savings: Despite upfront costs, renewables offer savings and resilience to fluctuating fuel prices
- Environmental benefits: Cuts greenhouse gas emissions, improves air quality, and protects biodiversity
- Global energy security: Reduces reliance on finite fossil fuels, enhancing energy security
- Increased social and environmental impact: Expands energy access, improves communities’ quality of life, and fosters human development
- Supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goals: Aligns with UN goals for affordable and clean energy, climate action, and innovation
Further, the keynote session on “Clean finance: Unlocking the capital to power Australia’s renewable energy future” discussed the challenges and drivers for attracting debt and equity into the clean energy sector.
Did you know that between 2020 and 2021, there was an increase of 68% regarding nationwide investment in large-scale renewable energy projects? This number is only set to grow. What’s more, it needs to – in order to secure Australia’s position as a clean energy powerhouse.
4. Discussion included the range of challenges and opportunities for Australia’s industrial sector
The industrial sector plays a pivotal role in Australia’s emissions reduction story.
As a key topic of discussion, the conference explored pathways to achieving net-zero emissions in sectors like steel, aluminium, cement, and minerals processing. According to the Australian Industry Energy Transitions Initiative, transitioning Australia’s energy-intensive industries to low-emissions technologies could attract over AUD $63 billion in investment and create more than 170,000 jobs by 2050.
Of course, these opportunities can help drive economic growth while reducing the environmental impact of industrial activities – a huge plus.
5. The summit focused on the efficient integration of distributed energy and electricity markets (e.g. rooftop solar and solar batteries)
It will come as no surprise to our G Store customers that rooftop solar and batteries are transforming Australia’s energy landscape, presenting exciting opportunities for decentralised energy generation and consumption.
The session “Powering on: integrating distributed energy into Australia’s networks & markets” explored the implications of these technologies and ways to modernise the grid to leverage their potential fully. With membership to Virtual Power Plant (VPP) programs on the rise, solar customers are now earning money from the excess power they generate, with the ability to export it to the grid – stabilising the grid more broadly, and acting as an additional stream of income for future-thinking households.
The recently published Australian Energy Market Operator’s (AEMO) Integrated System Plan projects that by 2040, distributed energy resources, including rooftop solar and batteries, could provide up to 22% of total energy capacity in the National Electricity Market, providing significant contributions to Australia’s clean energy goals.
The catch? We need governments to further bolster the incentives available for this incredible technology. You can get the low-down on the range of high-quality solar panels and solar batteries available at G Store via our website.
Keen to learn more about the topics discussed at this important conference, and keep ahead of the technological advances in the realm of clean energy in Australia?
Feel free to visit our website, read through the incredible articles available on our Learning Centre, or contact our friendly, award-winning team today at 1300 766 940 to discuss your next steps in going solar.
We can’t wait to meet you!