If you’ve followed the policy debates around the direction of Australia’s renewables industry, you would probably have felt a little depressed with the state of uncertainty it has cast.
Perhaps the impact was most notable to me personally when news surfaced that Ingenero, a significant large scale installer has been placed in administration. While this sends a shiver through the industry about the tough times that lie ahead, I am buoyed with confidence from the stories that shone through at last week’s Clean Energy Week policy conference.
Beyond the aspirational comment that Rob Stokes made that NSW is committed towards meeting the 20% target for renewables and that it wanted to be Australia’s answer to California, I found strength in some of the discussions that gave the industry a glimmer of hope in these times of uncertainty.
In a summary I shared with my clients in the renewables space, I wrote:
1. The industry needs to step through the regulatory uncertainty which is holding back investments in renewables. Being strangled by this policy uncertainty impacts on the advancement of the renewables industry as a whole.
2. We need to acknowledge that consumers are deeply unsatisfied with what they are currently getting from their energy providers and they are willing to embrace alternatives. This is where renewables has the chance to step in and claim market and mind share. As Kobad Bhavnagri from BNEF rightly said, “You have a product consumers inherently like, how can you sell it to them by short circuiting the policy circus and going directly to consumers?”
3. Community energy projects such as the Coalition for Community Energy have demonstrated communities are ready and taking the lead in advancing renewables as they see the financial and ownership benefits. Residential group buying for solar is already gaining swift momentum and we will only see this trend growing.
4. Accenture’s study shows that 47% of Australians are interested in products that generate their own energy and 80% would buy services from an alternative energy provider.
5. Ann Burns from Accenture talked about the Energy Trillema = Affordability + Security + Sustainability and how Australia would achieve our energiewende if we could get our balance right.
Perhaps as we wait for policy certainty, we could persevere if we kept calm and carried on.