South Australia will hold a Summit to recognise the opportunities of clean energy

Ilario D'Amato
Reading time: 5 minutes
28 November 2014

LONDON: South Australia will hold an important Clean Energy Summit on Monday December 1, to discuss the future of Australia’s renewable energy and the business opportunities that lie behind the clean revolution.

The State of South Australia is one of the most active sub-governments in the world on clean energy generation, second only to the whole Denmark nation in this sector. This marks a sharp contrast with its national government led by Tony Abbott, who makes no mystery of supporting a high carbon economy.

For too long Federal policy uncertainty has stalled new investment in the renewable energy sector,” remarks Jay Weatherill, Premier of South Australia. “This summit seeks to identify a way forward, so that we can provide certainty for industry and investors to stimulate local jobs and investment. Clean energy will be a key part of our future. This summit provides an opportunity to help ensure that we are driving that future”.

Business knows that reducing emissions can also reap economic benefits, as the recent report Better Growth, Better Climate: The New Climate Economy stated. During the Climate Week NYC in September, a group of leading companies has launched the RE100 initiative, a program by The Climate Group, with the goal that by 2020, 100 of the world’s largest businesses will have committed to 100% renewable power.

The project wants to highlight the business and reputational benefits enjoyed by companies who make the commitment to use power exclusively from renewable energy sources.

A stable policy framework

However, to achieve such bold results companies need stable policies oriented to a long-term commitment toward the low carbon economy.

“It is more critical than ever that we recognise the opportunities of clean energy by developing local policies that will continue to foster development in this important sector,” adds Jay Weatherill. “We support a strong and expanding renewable sector because it lowers power prices, creates new manufacturing and clean energy jobs and reduces Australia’s carbon pollution. That is why we have made renewable energy investment a priority”.

The Clean Energy Summit follows this commitment, bringing together clean energy companies, investors and interest groups to respond to the crisis facing the renewable energy sector.

Bruce Carter, Chair of the South Australian Premier’s Climate Change Council, will welcome the many guests and will kick off the official opening.

Dr John Hewson, an economic and financial expert with experience in academia, business, government, media and the financial system, will lead the keynote on “Renewable energy: trying to move beyond politics”. Professor Ross Garnaut, Professorial Research Fellow in Economics at the University of Melbourne, will then talk about the economics of renewable energy.

A plenary panel will bring together the business and political leaders to discuss Australia’s clean energy future, with speeches by Ian Hunter, Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation; Miles George, Managing Director, Infigen Energy; Marianne Lourey, Deputy Executive Director, ACIL Allen and Steve Moreau, General Manager, CATCON.

Tom Koutsantonis, Minister for Mineral Resources and Energy, will close the summit. A particular focus will be put on calling the Abbott Government to abandon amendments to the existing Renewable Energy Target - a decision that would jeopardise employment and investment.

“At The Climate Group we know through our work with corporate and government members that governments play an essential role in creating the right conditions for business investment in the low carbon economy”, underlines Libby Ferguson, States and Regions director, The Climate Group. “Australia has been a leader in creating an attractive market for renewables investment and are reaping the benefits of this. It is essential that they continue to send the right policy signals to global corporates who are placing increasing value on renewables procurement and investment”.

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by Ilario D'Amato

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