Overall, international and domestic renewables investors are confident in the market, with positive sentiment pointing to a robust year ahead. Indeed, 65 per cent say they will increase investments as they search out clean energy opportunities in Australia. Also, while some investors sat out 2020 amid the COVID-19 health crisis, half have charged ahead with investments and another 35 per cent will return to the market within the year.
Mining and agri active
Australia’s vast agriculture and natural resources industries stand to benefit from renewables as both sectors increase their adoption of renewable solutions.
Miners are rethinking their operational processes and existing power supplies to invest in and integrate renewable energy sources. The benefits of investing directly in solar and wind power and smart storage or otherwise buying green power, are clear: to drive down energy costs, curb emissions, improve safety and lessen investor scrutiny.
Australia’s agriculture sector continued to grow throughout 2020, despite disruption caused by the pandemic. Agribusiness is currently worth $A60 billion, but this is expected to climb to $A100 billion by 2030.
Like mining, the agriculture sector is a significant energy user. Processes such as water pumping, desalination and temperature control in greenhouses require huge energy inputs. In addition, the need to be on-grid limits the range of locations available for some types of farming activity.
Investors are clear renewable energy will play a critical part in delivering this growth: 80 per cent of respondents in MinterEllison’s recent report on Australian agribusiness said increasing use of renewables would have a positive impact on the industry’s growth, with 39 per cent saying renewables will have a transformative effect.
Australia’s vast energy market continues to inspire – and the outlook has never looked better.
Simon Scott is Partner and Head of the Energy & Resources Group & Joel Reid is Energy Group Partner at MinterEllison
From September to October 2020, MinterEllison and Acuris Studios, the publishing division of Acuris, canvassed the opinions of 100 renewable energy investors to gauge their views on the investment opportunities, trends and challenges in Australia. 60 per cent were based outside Australia while 40 per cent were domestic Australian firms. All respondents had in the past 12-24 months developed/ funded/invested in at least one Australia-based renewable energy project.
This is the second report on this sector from MinterEllison and Acuris. The first, was published in 2019, and the results of that research are referenced in this report for comparison on trends.