1 March  2011 – Federal Independent MP Tony Windsor this week launched new research from the Climate Institute to show regional potential clean energy resources available from carbon pollution pricing and clean energy policies, but outlines pathways for regions to maximise employment and investment opportunities.

A media statement from the Climate Institute said:

“This research shows pollution pricing and clean energy support policies unlock the door to significant regional employment and investment opportunities, but also highlights the skills and industry development policies necessary to realise them,” Climate Institute chief executive officer John Connor said.

“The Climate Institute has commissioned leading energy and industry specialists  to model the opportunities and to talk to regional business and community leaders to not only see what extra opportunities exist, but to see what else is necessary to turn opportunity into reality.”

Mr Windsor launched The Climate Institute’s series of policy briefs, state and regional snapshots and roadmaps and launched an interactive Clean Energy Jobs in Regional Australia website.   The reports and website present and summarise research from Australia’s leading energy consultants SKM-MMA and industry experts at Ernst and Young.

“Australia stands at the doorway to a clean energy transition that can drive tens of billions of dollars of investment in the electricity sector creating a net increase of close to 34,000 new jobs in regional Australia,” said Mr Connor

“Realising these opportunities for Australia, and regional Australia, will require our politicians to make companies, like power generators, responsible for the pollution they create, policies to grow clean energy such as the Renewable Energy Target, plus skills and industry development policies .”

Australia has largely untapped energy resources in geothermal, large scale solar, bio-energy, hydro, wind and natural gas.

Modelling from SKM-MMA shows that by 2030 close to 43 per cent of Australia’s electricity could be produced from clean energy, up from around 12 per cent today.  Regional analysis shows that greater proportions of renewable electricity are attainable with extra policies and focus.

State employment opportunities out to 2030 include:

  • NSW: Close to 7000 new power sector jobs
  • Queensland: Close to 6300 new power sector jobs
  • Victoria: Over 6800 new power sector jobs
  • South Australia: Close to 2700 new power sector jobs
  • Western Australia: Over 3500 new power sector jobs

The Climate Institute was awarded a grant from the NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water to assess the employment opportunities in six NSW renewable energy precincts. As part of the project it commissioned Ernst and Young to develop roadmaps detailing opportunities and challenges for each precinct.

“Importantly, these clean energy opportunities also offer a strong economic foundation for Australia’s regions, providing much needed investment and jobs to ensure a strong population base for regional communities, and their associated services infrastructure.

“In 2010 global clean energy investments hit record levels at $243 billion and this is expected to accelerate in coming years. Australia lags in current investments and will fall further behind without action on pollution to stimulate clean energy uptake.”

“Delays and half measures to tackle pollution and climate change will risk these new job and investment opportunities for Australia’s states and regions.”

“These clean energy jobs are just the beginning as we put in place stronger policies and as Australian industry invests more in those industries which represent real growth areas for our economy now and into the future,” said Mr Connor.

* All case studies, roadmaps, methodologies and reports are available on The Climate Institute’s website and interactive online map at climateinstitute.org.au