BUDGET IS A GOOD START, BUT ANALYSIS SHOWS AUSTRALIA STILL LAGS BEHIND ON A RENEWABLE RECOVERY
Commitments to a renewable-led recovery in today’s Federal Budget are a good start, but Australia still has a long way to go to catch up with other countries, according to WWF-Australia.
Analysis conducted by WWF shows Australia’s stimulus investments in renewable industries still lag behind other markets and key trading partners including the EU, UK, Germany, France, and South Korea.
WWF-Australia welcomes the job-generating clean recovery measures in the Federal Budget, including $134 million for transmission and battery storage, $67 million for microgrids in regional and remote communities and the prioritisation of clean energy technologies in the $1.5 billion Modern Manufacturing Initiative.
“Today’s budget is a good start, but we need to go much further to realise our potential to become a world leader in renewable jobs, renewable technologies, renewable powered manufacturing and exports,” said Nicky Ison, WWF-Australia’s Energy Transition Manager.
“Our pandemic-induced recession was driven by factors outside the government’s control, but the pathway back to growth is not. We must back the clean energy industries that hold the greatest promise for Australia’s short, medium and long-term prosperity.”
Based on the Federal Government’s announcements, Australia will spend $2.45 billion on clean recovery stimulus, or approximately $96 per capita. This is almost nine times less than the global leader, EU ($400 billion; $897 per capita), and more than five times less than the UK ($35 billion, or $526 per capita).
If proposed stimulus measures – which include support for fossil fuels such as carbon capture and storage (CCS) and the hydrogen export hub – were directed entirely to clean, renewable alternatives, the Australian Federal Clean Stimulus would rise 36% to $3.34 billion or $130 per capita.
“This investment would create tens of thousands of new jobs and put us on the pathway to becoming a renewable export powerhouse,” said Ms Ison.
“Few countries are as well placed to become a global leader in renewable energy as Australia due to our abundant natural resources, economic position and strong trade relationships. We can set up the next generation of jobs in manufacturing and exports, but only if we act now.”
WWF-Australia’s analysis draws on the research of Professor Cameron Hepburn and Brian O'Callaghan from the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at Oxford University.
Professor Hepburn said the Federal Government’s investment in renewable energy makes sense, but “Australia is a good way behind where it could be”.
“Germany, France, and Korea among others, have committed significantly more to a clean recovery – and they don’t have anywhere near the same wealth of sun and wind that Aussies do. The economics shows a clean recovery can achieve higher economic returns in both the short- and long-term,” said Professor Hepburn.
WWF-Australia’s $2 billion Federal Budget submission outlines five key stimulus measures to invest in emerging industries that generate jobs and growth, including modernising manufacturing; delivering local solar projects to regional towns; converting Australia’s buses to electric; accelerating renewable hydrogen and unlocking the potential to become a leader in global battery manufacturing.
The submission is backed by research from EY that shows a stimulus spent on clean energy projects would generate three times as many jobs per dollar than investment in fossil fuels.
The research has received strong support from investors and businesses. Last month WWF-Australia and 72 Australian and international businesses sent a letter to Prime Minister Scott Morrison calling on the Federal Government to support a renewables-led economic recovery.
“We have the momentum and the resources in Australia, but without further investment in clean energy technologies we risk losing our natural advantage to other countries who outspend us,” said Ms Ison.Commitments to a renewable-led recovery in today’s Federal Budget are a good start, but Australia still has a long way to go to catch up with other countries, according to WWF-Australia.
Clean Recovery stimulus
Global Comparison (AUD billion)
How does Australia’s renewable recovery stimulus compare with other countries? Read the full briefing paper below: