Cleantech scheduled to take centre stage

21st Mar 2013

While renewable energy has been in the spotlight in Australia for some time now, you may not realise quite the impact it's having here and the rate at which it is growing.

An Australian Cleantech Review reveals that in fact the national cleantech industry – defined as products and services that have an economic and environmental benefit, including renewable energy such as solar power, water, waste and recycling, energy efficiency and carbon trading – is becoming a lucrative business in Australia.

Sectors experiencing the biggest growth in the last year were solar energy, water, energy efficiency and green buildings.

The Australian Cleantech's Review analysed 1,340 Australian cleantech companies, and states that the sector has a revenue of $29 billion annually, employing 53,000 people.

"This is the fourth version of Australian Cleantech Review and it has been used extensively by investors and governments wanting to understand the sector," said John O'Brien, the leader of the study and the managing director Australian Cleantech.

"This year we have expanded the coverage of companies to provide a more detailed profile. We have found that it is already a significant sector and one that is growing fast."

While some of the signs are hopeful, Mr O'Brien fears that Australia is at risk of falling behind the world in terms of cleantech, in particular leading Asian economies such as China.

"We work extensively in China and Korea sourcing investors for the Australian market and the difference in the growth in those markets compared to Australia is huge. We have some great technologies and expertise and we have the opportunity to take these to the world."

The report also identified a number of trends to watch out for in the cleantech sector for 2013. One of these trends is the construction of commercial scale solar power systems.

In 2013 there will be five to ten large scale solar projects under construction in Australia, which will begin delivering power later in the year or in early 2014 – an encouraging statistic considering the fact that the incentive of solar feed-in tariffs has been discontinued. 

Commercial scale solar power systems that are already underway in Australia include The University of Queensland's rooftop solar panel system, which saves 1750 tonnes of carbon emissions each year, achieved through a staggering 5004 solar panels spread across 4 buildings.

Posted by Mike Peacock

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