Polyglot Group’s Renewable Energy team got the opportunity to visit the biggest event in the clean energy sector in Australia – All-Energy Conference & Exhibition 2019.

 

It was a busy event with opportunities to get insight into the broader market, as well as detailed topics including grid integration, security and reliability, energy storage, electric vehicles and microgrids/smart grids.

With many of the conference talks and panels being hosted and attended by leading CEOs and senior professionals in the industry, the event certainly lived up to its reputation as the largest Clean Energy conference in Australia. It was also an excellent chance to make new business connections with companies of all sorts at the buzzing exhibition.

 

The Buzzwords

 

Energy Storage

Energy storage was a common topic, which comes as no surprise. Energy storage is simply to other side of the power generation coin. We need it to provide stability to the grid and provide civilians with electricity when needed and not just when it’s generated.

It seems to be a race towards developing the best version, with varying types of batteries on the market. We saw traditional lead and lithium-ion batteries but also upgraded versions of vanadium batteries.

The end goal? To develop storage systems with larger, longer and more stable capacity. On the other hand, we also need market rule changes, as battery storage is not yet defined through regulations and hence not as incentivised.

 

Hydrogen

Hydrogen seems to be on everyone’s minds, and there was a huge interest in the implications that the successful generation and distribution of hydrogen would have for both the domestic and international export market. To date, there have been challenges in generating, transporting and storing Hydrogen in a cost- and energy-efficient way. However, after listening to the experts at the conference, it seems like the breakthrough in the Hydrogen sector might be closer than we think…

 

The Crowd

Overall, the exhibitors seemed optimistic. It was great seeing so many local and international companies looking at the possibility to keep growing in Australia or to enter the Australian market. All this, either directly or by building relationships with local distributors.

Of the international exhibitors, a large majority were Chinese. We also saw a big representation of companies from Europe. Spain, in particular, had a notable presence.

Other than energy storage, there was a large focus on manufacturers and equipment providers, especially for the residential and commercial market. It was interesting to see upgraded versions of already existing products, such as curved solar panels.

 

The Trends

 

Counting down to zero

We need to create a credible path getting to Net Zero emissions. What a ‘credible path’ to this will look like shifted, partly due to the ongoing and turbulent debate around the climate crisis but also because the science has evolved. We now know what far-going consequences there will be if we fail to reach the climate goal even by as little as 0.5 degrees.

 

Time for a shift

We need to move in the net-zero direction to maintain a healthy planet. But even companies that are not truly on board will still be forced to become more sustainable.

Why? Because it’s what consumers demand. We now care about what our banks and super funds invest our money in, and we expect that companies be increasingly more transparent. There is more pressure for them to showcase sustainable production and supply chains. Given the big youth movement around climate action, this will only become more and more prominent.

 

System changes

We don’t just need individual change; we need system-wide change. We need to get to net-zero emission with 100% renewable energy – ideally before mid-2030. Until we get there, we need to make sure that we reduce energy waste and become a circular economy. We also need to make sure that we develop technology that can carry 100% renewable energy.

The biggest challenge we face is adapting the Grid and developing energy storage to ensure both a stable energy supply and a stable grid.

 

Leading the way

Australia has the potential to be leading the world in Renewable Energy… even if we must face the challenge of distributing it internationally due to our geographical location.

In fact, our geography is what has blessed us with other great assets such as large landmass where we can build vast MW-worth of renewable energy infrastructure, abundant sources, proximity to Asia and states beginning to incentivise investments in the industry.

In the meantime, watch this space as there’ll be more buzz around the energy and environment sectors to come!

About the Author:

Andrea Molander works as a Talent Acquisition Consultant for the Renewable Energy industry, sourcing and placing top talent for sustainable energy projects across APAC.
Read more about Andrea Molander.