Insights from the AFR Energy & Climate Summit 2023.

Oct 16, 2023.

Held over two days, the theme of this year’s Australian Financial Review Energy & Climate Summit was ‘Crunch time for the transition”.

The Australian Financial Review Energy & Climate Summit is the nation’s leading platform that features political leaders, regulators, energy producers, disruptors, and industry insiders to address the questions, challenges and opportunities of Australia’s transformation to renewable energy towards a net-zero economy.

Here are some of the key headlines from the summit:

  • Regulators, producers, and users all agreed the country’s energy transition has fallen well behind the national target of 82 per cent renewables by 2030, which underpins the federal government’s legislated 43 per cent emissions reduction commitment.
  • Businesses and governments reinforced that community support and earning a social licence remain critical to project success. There was also agreement all can do better, including addressing the ‘power imbalance’ that communities experience.
  • The federal government will set a 2025 emissions reduction target, most likely during the 12 months leading up to a 2025 federal election. The deadline for the target is Feb 2025.
  • Community energy resources are an untapped solution to realising the renewable transition: as much as 20GW of household generation could help secure the grid.
  • Long-duration storage was repeatedly raised, and the director-general of Queensland’s Department of Public Works and Energy said “batteries would be more than double the cost of pumped hydro to achieve its storage goal”.
  • Nuclear energy continues to split business and politics. Many said it should remain on the list of options, but nearly all agree it should not be at the expense of renewables.
  • NSW, Vic, and federal governments agree: Putting new transmission lines underground would be prohibitively expensive ‘in most cases’.
  • A carbon tax would boost chances of reaching 2030 targets: There’s an economy-wide revenue-neutral carbon tax-sized hole in Australia’s climate plans.

They had their say tag

Daniel Westerman, CEO of AEMO.

“When the next generation looks back in 25 years’ time, I hope they’ll see we collectively rose to the challenge and created an energy system fit for Australia’s net-zero future.”

Full AFR 2023 speech.

Chris Bowen, Federal Minister for Climate Change and Energy.

  • No coal fired power station has been built since 2009 and no more will.
  • 2022 ISP found that Step-Change was the most likely pace of change.
  • Green hydrogen industry key to becoming export superpower.
  • Announced ARENA is opening the first stage of the Hydrogen Headstart program through a two-stage, competitive process: initial Expression of Interest Stage open until 10 November 2023.
  • Underground transmission would be prohibitively expensive “in most cases”.
  • Hume Link: 50% of landholder agreements now secured.

Full AFR 2023 speech.

Anna Collyer, CEO of AEMC, championed the role of CER in the transition.

Clare Savage from the AER maintained a focus on the threats/risks to affordability for consumers because of the pace to get to scale in the transition.

Madeleine King, Federal Minister for Resources.

  • A new definition for critical minerals is on its way next year, and could include coking coal, bauxite, iron ore, as well as copper and nickel on the list.
  • Focused on critical mineral projects and emphasised that improvements in approvals is needed.

Full AFR 2023 speech.

Ted O’Brien, Opposition spokesperson for Climate and Energy.

Full AFR 2023 speech.