Sunday Territorian

When pushing clean energy Aussies could lead the way

A recent Ernst & Young study found Australia could become a clean energy manufactur­ing giant, writes

- Joe Hildebrand

AUSTRALIA is on the verge of becoming a clean energy and manufactur­ing export powerhouse but just needs clear federal government policy settings to get there, a survey of top industry figures has found.

The study by accounting giant Ernst & Young found the nation was “uniquely positioned to capitalise” on the emerging new global economy and just needed more federal policy direction and support.

The survey, commission­ed by WWF-Australia, collated responses from 53 clean energy and industry experts spanning private companies, peak bodies, research groups and NGOs across the finance, energy, insurance and legal sectors.

Threequart­ers said

Australia had the skills and natural resources to become a world-leading renewable exporter and 93 per cent said the country was placed to lead the globe on clean manufactur­ing exports. And more than 80 per cent said Australia could fulfil this potential by 2040, a decade ahead of the net zero 2050 target being considered by the federal Government.

However the same number cited the need for a “strong and credible federal climate policy” as the key to unlocking Australia’s clean export options. Respondent­s also warned that without this Australia could lose its competitiv­e edge in the renewable

export market to competitor­s such as China, Germany, Brazil, Chile and the United Arab Emirates.

The report identified six key export opportunit­ies: * Renewable hydrogen; * Direct electricit­y transfer; * Renewable powered manufactur­ing, products and commoditie­s;

* Australian expertise and skill-sets;

* Components and recycling; and

* Software and services. Around half of respondent­s indicated Australian expertise was the most promising prospect in the immediate term (2025), while renewable hydrogen and renewable power manufactur­ing were seen as the strongest export

prospects in the medium and longer-terms. WWF-Australia Energy Transition Manager Nicky Ison said now was the perfect time for Australia to strike.

“We have a critical window to stay ahead as the world moves,” Ms Ison said. “This report proves there is a huge appetite among Australian organisati­ons to seize the export opportunit­y within our grasp but, without federal policy direction, we risk being left behind. The energy transition represents trillions of dollars of investment­s, technologi­es, infrastruc­ture, and clean commoditie­s and fuel supplies.

“With a national plan, the right ambition and investment, we have a unique opportunit­y to become a renewable energy superpower, capturing jobs, industries, exports, and economic investment. We stand to gain far more than we lose as global economies transition to clean, renewable energy.”

EY partner Emma Herd, who authored the report, said there was a massive amount of global demand and finance for clean energy and manufactur­ing commoditie­s.

“This survey finds that Australian industry has the appetite, the resources and the capability to accelerate the growth of new industries to support the accelerati­on of new industries,” she said. “Respondent­s to the survey identified that with the right market, policy and technology incentivis­ation settings, Australia is positioned to be a leader in clean industry and manufactur­ing.”

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