Matt Kean

There’s been several attempts to quantify the job-creating potential of a renewably powered Australia.

There’s Beyond Zero Emissions’ Million Jobs Plan, the Climate Council’s Clean Leaders and Laggards report for clean energy jobs in Queensland and the Clean Energy Council’s A Clean Recovery that includes the job-creating potential of a clean energy recovery.

Now the likelihood of these theoretical jobs becoming real is improving, with incoming US president Joe Biden committed to an ambitious plan to decarbonise the grid and create up to a million new jobs in the process.

The global outlook for clean energy is looking a lot sunnier and there’s positive for the industry at home as well.

The return of a Palaszczuk government in Queensland means the target to reach 50 per cent renewable energy by 2050 will stay, and that the state will also spend $145 million on three new renewable energy zones.

And just this week, the NSW government doubled down on its clean energy commitments, unveiling a $32 billion renewable energy plan that will see the state’s renewable energy infrastructure beefed up over the next decade.

In fact, NSW Minister for Energy and Environment Matt Kean wants the state to become a “renewable superpower”.

The plan will critically create more than 9100 jobs, around 6300 construction jobs and 2800 ongoing jobs.

Central to the plan is the use of pumped hydro, which along with other storage and firming is expected to help support an estimated 3 gigawatts of new firming capacity in the grid by 2030.

The state will also focus on three “Renewable Energy Zones” that will deliver 12 gigawatts of new transmission capacity by 2030. These zones are Central-West Orana, New England and South West, with more to come.

“The NSW Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap will provide on-the-ground benefits for regional communities who have been doing it tough with drought, bushfires and the COVID-19 crisis,” NSW Minister Matt Kean said in the foreword.

“This plan will not only help us recover, but also set our state up to be an energy and economic superpower.”

Job movements

Geoff Gourley has joined 460Degrees, a self-described “world’s first Expert Management Agency”

Mr Gourley, who has a background in smart cities, impact investment, innovation and entrepreneurialism and much more, has joined the organisation to lead its Smart Cities team.

The role will involve working with 5G and Smart City “champions” and promoting the offering.

Mr Gourley is a founder of One10 Group, a social enterprise dedicated to supporting purpose-driven entrepreneurs and organisations, and founder and chairman of Impact Investment Fund.

He’s also project director and chair of the Project Working Group at Consolidated Land and Rail Australia (

CLARA), an advisory board member at Swinburne University and past board director of United Nations Association of Australia in Victoria.

It’s been a tough year for AMP Capital with sexual harassment claims and the pandemic, and now several of the company’s real estate capital transactions team have resigned and some snapped up by Lendlease.

The AFR reported that head of transactions James Donele and senior transactions manager Tom Sillar were among four people to leave the company.

Sally Capp was on Tuesday sworn in as Melbourne Lord Mayor for a second term after her recent election. She mentioned her priorities would be “attracting investment, generating jobs, easing the burden on ratepayers, responding to homelessness, and delivering infrastructure and stimulus as a platform for recovery.” We’re sure she meant to include sustainability outcomes in all of those areas; hopefully she would think “it’s all part of Melbourne’s DNA now”.

Crossing fingers.

Also at the top end was the appointment of Dr Cathy Foley AO as Australia’s next Chief Scientist who also didn’t mention a especially passionate  commitment to climate action or sustainability.

who was previously the CSIRO’s chief scientist for two years.

Dr Foley is an Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE) ATSE Fellow and sits on its board.

According to The Guardian she is also “keeping her powder dry” on the issue of climate change, “which has bedevilled her predecessors”, most recently Alan Finkel.

“I think everyone agrees climate change is something that has to be dealt with and it’s not something which has a single solution,” she is reported to have said. “We’re going to have to see over a long time – a whole range of different things and approaches that have to come together.”

 “I guess my role is to see how to build on that to be able to make sure we’ve got what’s needed into the long term. It’s not as though we can swap things over overnight, we have to actually work towards that, and have a real methodology which consists of a whole range of components.”

Our pick of the jobs

Mott McDonald’s sustainability hiring spree continues with the engineering services company on the hunt for a senior sustainability consultant.

This sounds like a massive job if you’re feeling ambitious: The City of Melbourne is hiring a manager city resilience and sustainable futures to lead the city’s urban resilience practice and embedding the sustainable development goals across City of Melbourne’s activities.

Deloitte’s occupational health and safety team needs a director, health safety & wellbeing, sustainability & climate. The role is based in Melbourne.

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