Budget 2017 does not go far enough in ensuring power security
Sydney, 15 May 2017: Despite an understanding within the budget, and other recent rhetoric by the government, that Australia’s power grid is in need of a rethink, the real opportunities to leverage renewable energy to the nation’s economic benefit are being missed.
“On Tuesday, Treasurer Scott Morrison handed down his 2017-18 Federal Budget, and many of the measures designed to boost energy security and their effectiveness don’t go far enough, with regards to jobs and economic potential,” Evergen CEO, Emlyn Keane, said. “Renewable energy has a far healthier future ahead of it than incumbent energy sources, and growth in the industry will result in a boom for jobs, as well as economic activity around R&D and technology investment. The potential for renewable energy to lower power costs will also be of benefit to taxpayers and businesses alike. It’s just a pity that the government isn’t seeking to leverage this within its own economic plans.”
The economic value of renewables is being recognised around the world, and despite the hostility towards renewables, recent stats indicate that Australia has had its best year for investment in renewables on record in 2016, and is on track to meet its goals for 2020. This is both the case at government level, with many state governments competing with one another to announce the largest renewables projects, and also the case with community projects. On the latter point, a recent report has shown that Australians have financed more than $24 million in community renewables projects.
Renewables also create jobs. According to the Advanced Energy Now 2017 Market Report, in the US alone, there are 3.3 million people employed by advanced energy. It is equal to the employment provided by retail stores, and twice the jobs in construction. “The money, and the investment is there, but what is Australia really doing about it? We ask that the government look more closely at the potential that Australia has to become a world leader in renewable energy, when renewables will clearly become as lucrative as coal and gas mining for those nations that are willing to make the investments now and develop innovative technology.
Additionally, something that’s been often forgotten in the discussions about energy security and the price of power is the raw potential for rooftop solar and batteries to play a big role in Australia moving forwards.
“Through Evergen, there is locally-developed smart technology that helps consumers with rooftop solar and batteries to make the most of their investments. In conjunction with the CSIRO, we have developed market leading technology in the renewables space,” Mr Keane said.
The ability for this technology to apply deflationary forces on the cost of power is something that shouldn’t be overlooked; at the moment, home-generated power is considered to be separate to grid energy solutions being developed, but we believe it would be far more effective to have the two working in concert,” Mr Keane said.
Mr Keane has provided his thoughts on other energy initiatives announced through the budget:
● A$90 million to expand gas supplies, partly through increased unconventional gas exploration – There have been tens of billions of dollars invested over the last 10 years to develop Australia’s gas resources for export. The $90 million in response is not going to move the needle and will take years to come to fruition.
● A potential Commonwealth buyout of an expanded Snowy Hydro scheme – This is interesting from a State and Federal funding perspective and is intended for States like NSW to invest in infrastructure. There is no direct impact on energy markets however, as it relates to an existing asset simply changing hands. Evergen would like to see a focus on small-scale solar and battery systems, which can improve the reliability of power supply. Some systems currently on the market can actually provide backup power to the house if there is a blackout. Concepts like micro-grids and virtual power stations that coordinate lots of individual solar and battery installations, can provide support the broader grid, improving reliability in extreme weather events.
● Up to A$110 million for a solar thermal plant at Port Augusta – It’s interesting that the Government would select any particular energy technology ahead of another – particularly solar thermal, which hasn’t necessarily proven itself to be cost effective in comparison to alternative technologies. The Federal Government has had subsidies available for large-scale renewable energy for years now, without mandating any particular technology. Market forces have determined that large-scale wind and solar photovoltaic have been the most cost-effective solutions to date.
● Monitoring of gas and electricity prices by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission – Australians don’t need more monitoring to tell them that their energy bills are too high. Consumers do have options to lower their bills, however it means taking matters into their own hands, and investing in new technology, such as solar and batteries coupled with intelligent management that gives them control.
Mr Keane continued: “At a time where Australia’s economy would benefit from easing power prices, the prominence of these items in the budget is an ominous sign of what’s to come in terms of price rises. Wholesale electricity markets have risen to unprecedented levels and unfortunately we could see that translating into higher residential prices in July,” he said.
Matthew Sainsbury | email@example.com | 0423 393 300
Louise Proctor | firstname.lastname@example.org | 0452 574 244
Evergen is a new energy services company that sells and manages intelligent home energy systems comprising solar power and batteries. The ’intelligence’ technology is provided by the CSIRO, which periodically analyses and remotely updates the system to improve over time. AMP Capital is a major investor in the company alongside CSIRO. Evergen is run by energy scientists and advocates of change for clean solar and battery storage technologies for the home including renowned energy scientist Dr Glenn Platt and former CEO of AMP Capital and Evergen Chairman Stephen Dunne.
Amazon Australia: Already In Demand,
Especially For The Younger Generations
While almost 50% of Australians overall remain unsure about whether they will use Amazon Australia,
60% of those aged 18-24 years are already sold on the US retail giant
6 July 2017 – Amazon can expect a generally warm reception from Australians when it launches locally later this year according to new research by global data and insights company Pureprofile.
The new national survey data reveals that many Australians from all demographics already use Amazon for buying eBooks or goods from overseas. However, the jump in numbers of Australians that plan on using Amazon once it has a direct presence in Australia is substantial – particularly among the younger generations – and will put additional pressure on incumbent retailers.
According to the survey of a representative sample of over 1000 Australians, currently, 24% of Australians have shopped at Amazon’s Australian online store for eBooks. Similarly, 24% have made purchases from Amazon’s overseas websites – such as the US and UK.
The interest in Amazon is being principally driven by people in the 25-34 age demographic, of which 32% of users have shopped on Amazon online, and 25% of users have bought from Amazon offshore. Of those in the 35-44 age demographic, 21% and 28%, respectively have made similar purchases.
However, significantly more – 46% – of Australians are planning to use Amazon once it launches locally, and unsurprisingly it’s the younger generations that will drive that demand. The survey found 60% of people 18-24, 61% of the 25-34 age demographic, and 51% of the 35-44 age demographic reported an intention to make use of Amazon Australia.
“Amazon has a powerful brand presence amongst Australians despite its focus being primarily within international markets until recently,” said Pureprofile Founder & CEO Paul Chan. “If you look at the statistics, only six per cent of Australian consumers are unaware that Amazon is moving into the local market. This suggests that the brand is already strong and well-known here in Australia”.
“Overall, there remains a fair amount of uncertainty over whether Amazon in Australia will be the way that Australians ultimately want to do their shopping – 48% of respondents said that they were currently ‘unsure’ about whether they would shop at Amazon Australia. However, this number shrinks dramatically with younger people with only 16% of Australians 18-24 years sharing that same uncertainty.
“Today’s consumer has access to an incredible amount of data that enables them to make retail decisions based on self-research. Ten years ago, a consumer would rely upon advertisements, sales people or word of mouth. The Amazon model empowers consumers to use the power of their personal profiles to offer reviews and create a marketplace of collective intelligence that helps making retail decisions simpler and more efficient,” said Mr Chan.
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About Pureprofile (ASX: PPL)
Pureprofile Limited (ASX: PPL) connects brands with empowered consumers across the world by finding, understanding and engaging them through direct-to-consumer technology platforms. The Pureprofile group is now a global leader in data insights, programmatic media, big data, and quantitative research, as well as consumer lead generation through the recently acquired Cohort group. Pureprofile delivers next generation marketing solutions for more than 700 brands, publishers and research groups worldwide.
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June 29, 2017 – Global data and insights company Pureprofile Limited (ASX: PPL) today announced a partnership agreement with AA Smartfuel, New Zealand’s largest fuel rewards programme and one of New Zealand’s largest, most engaged loyalty programs with partnerships including major fuel retailers such as BP and Caltex.