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Event Recap - Renewable Energy Forum: Renewable Energy in Victoria and the China Factor

23 November 2017

In Australia today, renewable energy remains a key part of social and political discourse.

For policy makers in Victoria and around the country, the search to find sustainable energy solutions is both a problem to solve and an opportunity for innovation and creativity. At the ACBC Vic seminar hosted by ShineWing Australia on 23 November in Melbourne, a group of experts in the field of renewable energy were brought together to discuss their ideas and experience in the energy sector.

The forum began with a presentation by The Hon David Southwick MP, Shadow Minister for Energy and Resources, Innovation and Renewables. In his presentation, David highlighted the importance of having a clear plan for the future of renewable energy in this country. David also drew attention to the role of the market in changing Australia’s renewable energy system. He said that governments needed to take a step back and give the market a chance to develop a cohesive renewable energy system that can take Australia into the future.

The second presentation was made by Mr Tony Wood, Energy Program Director at the Grattan Institute. Tony used his expertise to outline the reality of renewable energy in Australia and explained that the actions of investors, businesses and governments directly affect how we proceed with energy in this country. Tony said that in recent years, the government has been uncomfortable with high level targets of renewables. He explained that in Australia there is currently a gap between what is committed and what is necessary.

In his presentation, Tony also outlined some of the key opportunities and challenges for renewable energy in Australia. He said that the result of elections could easily change the direction of Australian energy policy and commitment to specific climate change targets, and added that there is a great deal of uncertainty regarding climate change policies in Australia today. However, Tony also emphasised that Australia does take the commitment to climate change policies seriously and that we have enough capacity to improve our market for renewable energy.

Following the two keynote speakers, there was a panel discussion led by Mr Mathew Schofield, Chair of the ACBC Vic Energy & Resources Working Group from ShineWing Australia. The panel included Mr Andrew Smith, the Global Head of Clean Energy at NAB; Mr Mathew Dickie, the Director of New Energy Technologies from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP); and Ms Kate Griffiths, an Associate from the Energy Program at the Grattan Institute. At the end of the discussion, the audience had an opportunity to ask questions about specific aspects of forum and further clarify their understanding of renewable energy in Australia.

ACBC Victoria warmly thanked the event’s speakers, The Hon David Southwick, Mr Tony Wood, Mr Mathew Schofield, Mr Andrew Smith, Mr Mathew Dickie and Ms Kate Griffiths for their valuable and insightful contributions. We also extend our thanks to ShineWing for hosting the event and all who attended.