Chair of the storEnergy board, Dr Karl Foger has welcomed a report from the Clean Energy Council which calls on the government to use Australia’s renewable energy potential to create jobs and jumpstart the economy.
According to the report ‘A Clean Recovery’, which was released in May, bringing forward wind and solar projects that are already in the pipeline could create more than 50,000 new direct jobs in construction and an additional 4000 ongoing jobs in operations and maintenance.
This would triple the amount of large-scale renewable energy in Australia – over 30,000MW on top of the existing 16,000MW, accelerating Australia’s shift to a clean energy grid.
Dr Foger welcomed the report’s call for a taskforce between industry, governments, unions and training and research bodies to understand and map the workforce needs and gaps of the future and establish clear strategies to address these.
He said the recommended measures, which include developing a national home battery program, supporting small businesses and new homes to go solar, and committing government and community buildings switching to solar and batteries, would create many local jobs, stop the burden of ever increasing power prices for the home owner and small business, and also make a significant contribution to solve electricity grid issues.
“I installed 6.5 kW solar PV on my roof plus a 8kWh battery, and was recently approached by my energy supplier about whether I would be prepared to give them control over my battery for a project on grid stabilisation,” Dr Foger said.
The report’s other recommendations include upgrading the transmission network and building a smart distribution network to accelerate and leverage distributed energy resources; building an electric vehicle charging network; and developing the workforce of the future.
Investment in large-scale, clean energy projects has slowed dramatically over the past three years due to expiry of the Renewable Energy Target, lower electricity prices, inadequacy of Australia’s transmission network and barriers to grid connection.
The Council argues that the required economic recovery from COVID-19 is an opportunity to get on with new clean energy investment and avoid the risk of the industry stalling further with associated job losses.
The report states that the large existing pipeline of wind and solar projects that already have planning approval equates to over 30 GW. If these projects alone were to be brought forward, they could deliver more than $50 billion in investment and over 50,000 new direct jobs (and many more indirect jobs).
The report also calls for investment in the demonstration and building of hydrogen capability, infrastructure and market demand, so Australia can take advantage of the enormous global opportunity in exporting renewable hydrogen.
“Other economies around the world, in particular in Europe, are using the COVID industry incentives to future-proof their industries, with support of sustainability and digitalisation. Germany aims to become a world leader in hydrogen technology, and the German government recently announced an additional 9 billion Euro investment in green hydrogen technology (10GW of electrolyser capacity by 2040),” said Dr Foger.
The full report is available at: https://www.cleanenergycouncil.org.au/advocacy-initiatives/a-clean-recovery