Australia’s cleantech investment

I am attending a workshop on Monday to discuss what needs to happen to encourage more cleantech investment? This is an interesting question and it got me thinking…

Currently, Australia’s cleantech industry employs almost 300,000 employees. That is around the same size as the automotive manufacturing sector. That isn’t too bad, is it?

After some more research, I found a general trend that Australia’s investment in cleantech hasn’t been anything to crow about. A February 2012 report on cleantech startup’s ranked Australia as 16th out of 38 countries. The report was compiled by the Cleantech Group and WWF. That rank doesn’t sound good, ahead of Australia are USA (5), India (12) and China (13). Not only that, but the ranking is based on countries relative potential to produce cleantech start ups over the next 10 years. The same report stated supportive policy and access to finance as the key barriers to growing the cleantech sector and battling resource scarcity and climate change.

It sounds like Australia is catching up to the rest of the world. There is certainly divisive debate on the upcoming carbon tax. I think it helps if you remove the politics of carbon and climate change – as it can sometimes evoke religious like fervor as to whether people believe or don’t believe. Simply put, resource efficient companies and reducing waste makes good business sense.

There is some help for Australia’s cleantech world ranking in the form of the clean energy future that provides both policy and access to finance. There is a great deal of support for manufacturing, $1.2 billion, to become more energy efficient and reduce carbon emissions. The clean energy future also allocates a whopping $13 billion to support clean energy projects. These initiatives should drive cleantech innovation and investment in Australia.

I look forward to our discussion on what is needed to encourage greater cleantech investment in Australia.



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