It’s an overused cliche, but apt nonetheless: All-Energy Australia 2023 was bigger and better! With hundreds of booths showcasing the industry’s latest and greatest, there was more to see and investigate than ever before.
Energy Matters was proud to be a media partner for All-Energy Australia this year. We took full advantage of the two days and have sore feet and tired voices as evidence! Here are some of our highlights…
The Fireside Chat was, well, on fire!
The Hon. Lily D’Ambrosio MP
D’Ambrosio discussed the promising outlook of Victoria’s climate change strategy.
“I was really pleased that we were able to take a very, very strong nation-leading set of policies to the last state election. Just reminding people 65% renewable energy by 2030, 95% by 2035. Of course, on top of our offshore wind energy targets, our storage targets and also emissions reduction targets of 75 to 80% by 2035. All of those together are about to be legislated through the Victorian Parliament. And we will achieve every single target,” stated D’Ambrosio.
Victoria’s move away from fossil gas was a key talking point, with attention given to how the move will impact industry and the extension of VEU (Victorian Energy Upgrades), “people may have noticed that there’s been a significant number of approved activities that have joined that VEU program in those areas. But we need to ramp that up because we know that program really works and it actually takes not just hundreds of dollars but thousands of dollars off people’s retail bill when it comes to buying the hot water system, space heating, cooling and induction cooktop.”
“You know, we’ve gone from a fairly nascent sector to an incredibly diverse workforce that is continuing to ramp up in terms of the rollout. We’ve got to do it with safety and skills development in the mix because if you get it wrong, the consequences could be decades in recovery. And we saw that with, sadly, insulation a few years back,” D’Ambrosio said of the industry shift away from gas.
Systems panel discussion
Kane Thornton sat down with Heidi Sick, Industry Director of Energy, ANZ Aurecon, Ben Burge, Head of Telstra Energy, and Tyronne Garstone, The CEO of Kimberly Land Council. Tyronne Garstone began with an insight into how the renewable energy sector can work with First Nations people to provide avenues for upskilling and employment. He discussed the challenges that are faced when utilising indigenous land and how new opportunities are allowing for 75% indigenous-owned projects that enrich the area whilst providing clean energy.
Ben Burge discussed the ever-present challenge of educating industry and businesses on how they can utilise renewable energy to increase demand. Burge explained that the challenges are not so much with clean energy production but the demand for it – where there is increased demand, we should see increased investment in projects. Where rooftop production is increasing as more Australians adopt rooftop solar, large projects are more or less stagnant.
Darren Miller: A need for a shift in production, manufacturing, and mining
Darren Miller, the CEO of ARENA, highlighted the very real need for Australia to examine how we are sourcing and manufacturing critical minerals and materials for the move toward electrification.
“Now, many in the energy industry would prefer to focus on electrifying our homes above all else. After all, rooftop solar, electric heating, and electric vehicles are proven technologies that can make our lives better and cost us less in the long run. And, of course, electrification of our homes and vehicles are critical parts of the energy transition. And, so we actually need to consider how all of these technologies are made.
Solar panels consist of highly refined silicon, glass, aluminium and silver. Cars are made of steel, copper, and plastics. Batteries require lithium and a host of exotic materials. All of these things come from the industrial sector. From mining, refining, manufacturing and transportation. The reality is, none of our new, clean technologies, like solar, batteries, EVs and heat pumps, are truly green unless whole the upstream supply chain is also green.”
He continued, “It’s also the case that many people working in the industry today would just prefer cheaper coal, gas and petroleum products and for their operations to otherwise remain largely unchanged. After all, change is hard and costly and comes with risk. And so we in the renewables industry need to work closely with people in the industry because the fact is the world is changing rapidly and highly carbon-intensive businesses have no long-term future unless they make the change to renewables.”
Kristen Tilley: How Australia is assisting other nations to move toward net-zero
Ambassador for Climate Change, Kristen Tilley, discussed how Australia is lending its expertise across multiple facets of the renewable energy sector. Many developing nations, such as Palau and Vietnam are benefitting from our technology and experience.
“We’ve just recently completed the Palau solar plant and battery storage facility, which that one project itself is anticipated to provide around 20% of Palau’s power needs now completely carbon-free. And it’s one of the largest facility facilities of its kind in the Pacific. And in Vietnam, we’ve provided $80 million in financing to support VinFast to increase electric vehicle uptake to support EV bus manufacturing and establish Vietnam’s first national EV charging network.”
Tilley also highlighted Australia’s Powerledger, a Blockchain technology that allows users to exchange their excess solar production with third parties.
“A collaboration among National Power System operators and the private sector is also stepping up drawing on the capabilities in digital and Blockchain technologies. Innovative Australian businesses such as Powerledger are already seizing opportunities in the region. An example of Australian industry ingenuity. I often draw on, with overseas audiences, an arrangement here in Australia where Powerledger’s Blockchain technology enables households to sell their excess power to Carlton United Brewery and receive cases of beer in return. That same Blockchain technology, although I’m not sure about the beer swap, is now being deployed in 10 countries including in Thailand.”
The State Electricity Commission (SEC) for Victoria is back
Jacinta Allen, Victoria’s Premier, announced that the SEC is officially back! She announced that the SEC has developed a 10 year strategic plan that will prioritise:
- Investing to accelerate the energy transition
- Supporting the switch to all electric households
- Building a renewable energy workforce
$1 billion of funding will go towards 4.5 gigawatts of new renewable energy technology and storage that will be able to power 1.5 million Victorian homes.
“By 2035 Victoria will need 25 gigawatts of renewable energy in the grid and the SEC will be critical in securing the investment and workforce we need for the job.”
“Victoria has some of the most ambitious emissions reductions targets in the world and the SEC and its role accelerating the transition to renewables will be the key driver to achieving this”, said Jacinta Allen.
Jacinta encouraged Victorians to go solar and electrify, with a stark contrast in expected energy bills with and without solar; $4,400 per year without and $3,000 with.
It is expected that the SEC will create 59,000 jobs, including 6,000 apprenticeships and traineeships.
New technology on display
One of the more exciting aspects of All-Energy Australia is, of course, the exhibition floor. The floor consisted of over 370 exhibitors that represented all facets of the industry. We set our sights on our good friends at GoodWe, LONGi, REC, sonnen, Enphase, SunPower, and Fronius. With new technology, such as REC’s Alpha Pure-RX panel, Enphase’s IQ8 microinverter, GoodWe’s solar carport, and a whole host more, there was much to be excited about!
We walked on over to Waste Expo Australia, which is the sister expo of All-Energy Australia. Looking at the direction the waste industry is taking recycling is exciting!
Walking across the length of the exhibition floor, it is clear to see that Australia’s renewable energy future has never been brighter. We wish to thank RX Global and the Clean Energy Council for providing a vehicle for the industry to network, stretch, and grow. We can’t wait to see how All-Energy Australia is taken to yet another level in 2024!