“The clean energy sector faces a difficult future unless it transforms. It is a case of collaborate or die,” says one of the experts scheduled to appear at the All-Energy Australia conference at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre on October 15th and 16th.
Greg Pope, Business Manager for Energy and Resources with Frazer-Nash, one of the world’s largest engineering consultancies, says at the moment there is a severe lack of certainty in the industry.
Mr Pope will tell All-Energy Australia attendees that “change has to happen. It is a case of collaborate, innovate or fail.”
Frazer-Nash works with clean energy developers in marine, wind and solar power and also has clients in transport, defence and oil and gas.
“Whereas the focus in lots of other sectors is moving towards asset management and the long-term sustainability of enterprises, this hasn’t been the case in the clean energy field.
“It is imperative that rather than just concerning themselves with getting projects off the ground, clean energy developers, investors and regulators concentrate on wider issues such as installation, operation, maintenance, decommissioning and disposal,” Mr Pope says.
He says the best outcomes are achieved by addressing these types of issues during the design phase.
Lyle De Sousa, also appearing at All-Energy Australia, is a commercial lawyer and mechanical engineer, who founded Legal Energy Lawyers and Consultants.
Mr De Sousa says while we’ve lived with a centralised electricity model for some time, with prices increasing rapidly and consumers and businesses feeling frustrated by the lack of options, change is imperative.
In addressing All-Energy Australia 2014, he will say that “we need to move to a far more flexible and decentralised structure that accommodates new business models.
“The regulatory regime we have is geared to the old order. People need to work together to ensure innovative projects are established, allowing consumers and businesses to take greater control of the way they source their electricity.
Mr De Sousa is confident we will end up with “a revolutionary system over the next 10 to 15 years, but the form it will take will be dependent upon the mindset of developers and network businesses.
“They need to become more customer-focused and work together to enact change.”
Another keynote speaker, Ric Brazzale, Managing Director of Green Energy Trading – a prominent environmental credit agent – says the biggest challenge facing the renewables industry is the federal government review of the renewal energy target (RET).
Mr Brazzale fears that if support for solar is removed it will suck the lifeblood out of the industry.
“Activity will halve. More than 6,000 people will lose their jobs and I promise you I am not being alarmist – they are the cold, hard facts,” Mr Brazzale says.
The solar industry is made up of more than 4,000 businesses – predominantly small businesses – around the country.
Mr Brazzale says more than 1.3 million Australian families have already embraced solar energy and if the renewable energy scheme is left alone that number will double in five years.
He is calling for policy certainty from the federal government, asking it to leave the RET as it is and allow industry to “get on with the business of investing in and developing new projects.”
Mr Brazzale says “Industry will be brought to its knees, unless it does a better job selling its ‘solar is good’ message to politicians and the broader community.
“We need a grass roots campaign. Businesses have to get out there and pound the pavement, make contact with local MPs and demonstrate the benefits of the projects they continue to undertake.”
More than 120 speakers and in excess of 150 local and overseas exhibitors will participate in All-Energy, with much interest from Europe and Asia.
Upwards of 5,000 people with a professional interest in clean and renewal energy from about 25 countries are expected to attend the free multi-stream conference and exhibition.
Full details about All-Energy Australia 2014, including the program and all keynote speakers, are now available online at www.all-energy.com.au.