The Clean Energy Council’s latest survey has found that investor confidence in clean energy projects is rising as states continue to adopt renewables throughout 2020.
The Clean Energy Outlook – Confidence Index has shown that despite the economic downtown associated with COVID-19, investors are buoyed as states and territories – especially New South Wales – move to include more renewables in their energy mix.
The survey, which gains insights directly from industry executives, found that investor confidence remains strong across both small and large-scale renewables, with the switch to clean energy declared ‘inevitable’.
The NSW Government’s shift to amend existing planning laws that allow for large-scale battery storage systems, along with a commitment for three renewable energy zones across the state, resulted in a rise in investor confidence from 6.8 out of ten in December 2019 to 7.5 in June 2020.
The survey found that strong and positive statements from the NSW Government and clear strategy for the transition of the state from one that is highly dependent on coal-fired power to one that is an energy and economic superpower in a low-carbon economy was a key factor in increased investor confidence.
Investor confidence in Victoria also increased slightly from 6.9 to 7.0, while Queensland, which is making progress towards its 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030, also saw a surge from 5.6 in December 2019 to 6.8 in June 2020.
Clean Energy Council Chief Executive, Kane Thornton, said that while challenges related to the grid and a lack of federal energy policy remain a concern, business is willing to make the most of the opportunities presented.
“State governments are leaning in, and it’s working. There is increased competitiveness following the lead shown by South Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory,” Mr Thornton said.
“Over 80 per cent of the Australian population lives on the east coast, and with that comes the vast majority of the nation’s carbon emissions.
“Investment in clean energy will lower power prices and create jobs – enabling that is good government policy.”
The Clean Energy Outlook data also revealed that 56 per cent of employers would be increasing their workforce over the next 12 months, owing to the large number of shovel-ready projects.
“This is great news coming out of COVID-19, but we also know from our recent Clean Energy At Work report that the industry could lose up to 11,000 jobs unless a strong policy landscape is developed that supports renewables,” Mr Thornton said.
“It’s vital that the investment pipeline can give the renewables business the confidence to invest in the development of solid workforce and training practices.”
Policy uncertainty at a Federal level remains a concern for investors as does transmission and grid connection, following the trend of the last three Clean Energy Outlook surveys, which are conducted by the Clean Energy Council every six months.
Read the Clean Energy Outlook – Confidence Index here.