Industry-backed campaign to meet clean energy workforce gap
Billionaire software developer Mike Cannon-Brookes has emphasised that the climate and clean energy sectors are poised to become Australia’s leading employers. This comes as part of a new initiative called Careers for Net Zero, led by the Clean Energy Council and Energy Efficiency Council. The campaign aims to address a growing workforce gap as Australia targets 82% renewables by 2030. It is estimated that two million new jobs will be needed to achieve net zero by 2050, along with 200,000 to meet the federal government’s 2030 emissions reduction goal. Cannon-Brookes stressed the urgency, stating that while the technology is available, time is running out.
The campaign will spotlight ten Australians already active in the sector and introduce an online “career explorer” tool through the Careers for Net Zero website. The Victorian government is also endorsing the campaign, unveiling the re-launch of the state-owned utility, the State Electricity Commission (SEC). The SEC plans to develop multiple gigawatts of new renewables and energy storage, aiming to create 59,000 clean energy jobs through its Centre of Training Excellence.
SEC announces big plans for VIC energy transition
As an extension to the above, the Victorian Government has outlined the SEC Strategic Plan 2023-2035 to boost renewable energy supply by focusing on increasing storage, onshore generation, and building industry confidence.
The Strategic Plan’s three priorities for the next 10 years include:
- Investing to accelerate the energy transition
- Supporting the switch to all-electric households
- Building a renewable energy workforce.
The plan includes a $1 billion investment to construct 4.5 gigawatts of renewable energy and storage projects, supporting 2.6 gigawatts by 2028.
As well as supplying to commercial and industrial customers the SEC will also launch a pilot program next year in attempt to assist the electrification of older homes and transition them away from gas.
The plan anticipates savings of approximately $1,400 per year for detached homes transitioning to electric power, with additional benefits for solar-equipped households.
Call for REGOs to include emissions declaration
The Clean Energy Investor Group (CEIG) believes that including emissions data on renewable energy certificates, specifically the Renewable Electricity Guarantee of Origin (REGO), could drive demand for new renewables and storage. The CEIG’s proposal calls for data on the emissions displaced by each megawatt-hour of renewable electricity, while the government is considering adding timestamps to REGO certificates. CEIG argues that the necessary data is already available through the Australian Energy Market Operator’s Carbon Dioxide Equivalent Intensity Index (CDEII), and could empower buyers to understand the emissions reduction achieved through their purchases.
Regarding energy storage, the proposed REGO scheme poses challenges. Batteries are expected to surrender REGOs for all absorbed grid electricity during charging, then claim REGOs for dispatched energy, potentially resulting in losses. The CEIG suggests making the market voluntary to avoid market distortions and any risk of discouraging battery installations.
Additionally, the REGO scheme may impact the existing Renewable Energy Target (RET) by including pre-1997 renewable generation. The government aims to prevent double counting and limit certificate surrender before 2030. The CEIG recommends creating a two-tier certificate system or restricting certificate use for emissions-intensive trade-exposed activities.
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