The Sydney based Climate Institute has launched an important report, Renewable energy investment opportunities and abatement in Australia, preparation of which was commissioned by the Institute and Westpac. The report was prepared by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
In his preface to the report, Climate Institute CEO John Connor says:
Global low-carbon investments and industries are growing rapidly and Australia’s innovative and forward thinking businesses are tapping into these opportunities.
The Climate Institute and its Climate Partner companies have come together because we share a resolve that Australia shouldn’t be left behind in the journey that other economies and companies are undertaking towards the expected multi – trillion dollar markets already emerging in clean energy and pollution reduction.
As a model for future individual and collective Climate Partner initiatives, Westpac and The Climate Institute commissioned Bloomberg New Energy Finance to assess global trends in clean energy investment, the recent and future outlook for Australia and the implications of this for Australia’s pollution reduction targets.
Globally, 2010 is expected to see record new investment in renewable energy. This is expected to occur on the back of increasing levels of asset investment in China and as more of the USD184 billion in global clean energy stimulus money starts flowing into the sector in the USA and similarly in other major economies.
In Australia, despite having world class renewable energy resources, investment in renewable energy has historically been subdued and Australia still contributes a very small fraction of total global investment in clean energy – reaching 2.4% of total investment in Asia and 0.8% of the global total in 2009.
Investors need certainty around climate policy and a long, loud and legal framework for a price on climate pollution so Australian business can take full benefit of opportunities in a global low-carbon economy. Assuming the Renewable Energy Target (RET) passes the Parliament, Australian investors will potentially have access to a $20 billion opportunity in clean energy.
The RET has the potential to deliver emission reductions of around 120 million tonnes over ten years to 2020, beginning the transformation of the energy sector in Australia. In the process previous research commissioned by The Climate Institute shows that thousands of new jobs would be created.
The Bloomberg New Energy Finance report also sends a warning though that a sectoral approach will not put Australia on track to meet current international commitments to reduce emissions. Without policies across the economy that ensure that companies and individuals take responsibility for the pollution they cause, many low cost pollution reduction measures will not get investment backing.
Australia will not be competitive in the emerging global low-carbon economy and will fail to meet our national commitments to reduce emissions without a carbon price to drive medium and long term investments in clean technologies and climate solutions. Policies to limit climate pollution and put a price on carbon are inevitable.
That is why partnerships between business and the community such as the one established by the Climate Institute are so vital in identifying key barriers to be overcome, and the solutions required, to achieve long term emission reductions and positive competitive outcomes for Australia.
The full report may be downloaded from here.