An initiative orchestrated by a climate change think tank with the title “Million Jobs Plan” obviously grabs the attention of a recruiter in the Renewable Energy sector.
Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE) have been creating incredible research programs for over a decade however they first came across my radar with their involvement in a visionary plan for Australia’s Northern Territory to be an energy export superpower. The 10 Giggawatt Vision plan shone a light on the top ends’ incredible solar radiance resources (best of any state or territory in Australia) and opportunity to develop an export market through Renewable Energy Hydrogen. This initiative coincided with the Territory’s goal of their electricity needs being met by 50% Renewable Energy by 2030.
Renewable Energy Hydrogen was the big-ticket item creating a $multi-billion industry and driving serious economic development and job creation for the Territory. Further, such a significant roll out of Renewable Energy generation would provide low-cost electricity and revitilise the Mineral Processing and Mining sectors and in turn creating more localised job opportunities.
Fast forward around 12 months and BZE were at it again with jaw dropping research titles; this time the “Million Jobs Plan”. Sounded far fetched however behind it was an extremely well thought out, wide reaching across the economy and highly detailed plan to stimulate an economic recovery for Australia and expedite our transition to decarbonise Australia to a Zero Carbon economy.
What further grabbed my attention was the high-profiles behind the initiative which were represented on a webinar BZE hosted on Monday 5th July including the likes of Kevin McCann (former chair of Macquarie Bank), Deanne Stewart (CEO First State Super) and the inspirational Christina Figueres (Architect of the Parise Climate Agreement). Underpinning this lineup was the ever-present Mike Cannon Brookes who added the star factor that the papers latch onto with MCB now being the poster boy for this initiative.
What this lineup proved was the BZE had struck a chord with both the investment and business communities who saw the huge potential and validity in the Million Job Plan research.
A stat that stood out early in the webinar was the fact that there have been over 800 000 jobs lost in Australia since March due to COVID 19. That is a big number in a population of approximately 24 million! There is no doubting the economic fall out that this will create for the country which should further deepen our resolve to stimulate a recovery and fast-tracking emerging markets with significant economic development and job creation potential.
As Christiana Figueres very eloquently stated “with the breakdown of an old economy there is space for a new economy to emerge”.
Mrs Figueres also made the statement from a global citizen that Australia should be the leader (not one of but front of the pack) in Renewable Energy technology highlighting our incredible abundance of Solar, Wind and Hydro resources, a highly skilled workforce and export opportunity to parts of Asia with a huge appetite for Green Hydrogen.
In summary The Million Jobs plan proposes:
- Accelerating new energy transmission and storage projects
- Implementing a national housing retrofit programme to cut emissions and power bills
- The construction of 150,000 zero energy social housing dwellings
- Building electrified transportation systems based on Australian manufacturing
- Restoration of land
- Upgrading of the aluminium refining industry to utilise renewables
The panel was probed about the political will for Australia to embrace such a visionary and far reaching initiative.
The general comments were that policy reduces risk and opens capital to be deployed which is currently looking for a home. Further, it was stated that each State & Territory in Australia already has a committed Zero Carbon target to 2050 or earlier so it makes sense for the Federal Government to implement an overarching energy plan above this.
Another staggering stat was the 6 companies on the ASX are collectively responsible for 50% of the country’s emissions. This reflects the need for big business to play its part in supporting this initiative and taking responsibility for their own journey to Zero Carbon.
This is undoubtedly a fork in the road scenario for Australia and their adoption of a new economy supporting significant job creation, economic development, revitalising of long-serving industries and communities built around an outdated power technology.
One thing is certain, Beyond Zero Emissions should be a name that is well known throughout Australia and I hope to play a part in promoting the business, and their initiatives, as widely as possible.
The company has a host of economists, academics, and business figures as its advisers and also relies heavily on a volunteer network to drive its initiatives. A link can be found here on how to get involved as a volunteer.
The Future is Renewable
Practice Lead, Phillip Riley
M. +61 457 325 550