27 Apr Who would invest in the Australian large scale renewable energy sector?
The lack of certainty around the Renewable Energy Tariff (RET) in Australia has made investment in large scale renewable projects very unattractive according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). According to BNEF’s report, investment in the Australian large scale renewable energy sector fell by 88% in 2014 and was the lowest since 2002. In 2013, Australia was ranked 11th in the world in terms of funding provided to large scale clean energy projects, and in 2014 it fell to 39th, lagging behind Honduras (33rd), Costa Rica (27th) and Myanmar (24th).
Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) indicate that this fall in investment has directly translated into significant job losses in the renewable energy sector between 2011/12 and 2013/14. In 2011/12 in Australia 14890 people were employed in the sector, and in 2013/14 this fell to 12590. The biggest losses were reported in Western Australia (53%-1740 to 820) and Queensland (34%-3820 to 2520).
These figures clearly show the ripple effect that policy uncertainty can have domestically (in terms of employment) and internationally (with Australia’s dramatic fall in the international rankings). If allowed to continue, one wonders how much further Australia’s ranking will fall and the impact that will have in terms of our international reputation (given the number of countries who hold and act on points of view that are contrary to that of the current Australian Government), greenhouse gas emissions and the way future greenhouse gas reduction commitments that Australia make on the international stage will be viewed.