Energising the future: Highlights from the Get Kinected conference in Sydney
Energy experts and customers recently shared insights and experiences at the Get Kinected event in Sydney. The conference focused on three key themes: understanding the dynamics of the energy market, the energy transition and decarbonising your business. Here are the event’s key takeaways.
A complex and evolving energy market
In Australia and around the globe, there’s a complicated interplay of energy supply, demand and pricing. And as in the rest of the world, the energy transition is affecting both market dynamics and prices.
Traditional fuels, particularly coal, gas and hydro, offer consistency and are a reliable fuel supply; we are used to the resulting stable prices and capacity for meeting demand. But renewable energy sources that are inverter-based, especially wind and solar, depend on weather and so offer intermittent supply. When the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing, energy cannot be generated. That’s why storage is an essential component of renewable energy.
What we have seen in modeling is volatile and peaky pricing with renewables. So while the tremendous growth in wind and solar is good for the environment, it will likely remain difficult to meet demand with renewables alone. And scarcity events further complicate the equation.
Natural gas has been and will likely remain the fuel that fills much of the global demand gap left by renewables, but that demand for gas continues to drive prices northward. Especially in Australia, where coal still constitutes a substantial portion of the energy market, there will likely be significant volatility in energy prices as markets transition away from traditional fossil fuel based energy and towards renewable energy.
Connecting renewables: Capacity versus an aging grid
The upcoming renewable energy pipeline includes 7 GW of additional committed capacity by 2030, with wind and solar making up the lion’s share of production. There are however additional projects awaiting approval that would yield more than 200 GW of capacity. The challenge is approving, building and connecting this supply to reach end users.
Aging transmission infrastructure is a major hurdle in Australia. Renewable Energy Zones (REZs) are being used to focus network upgrade efforts, but project delays mean these improvements to the grid will not see improvement until at least 2028-2029. The lack of investor incentives in Australia also hamstring the efforts to decarbonise the grid for storing and optimising renewable energy supplies.
How will this impact your organisation? Even if renewable energy capacity increases as anticipated, infrastructure challenges will slow the energy transition. If your business has committed to Net Zero, you will need to start exploring additional options for reducing your carbon footprint. World KinectEnergy’s sustainability experts can help you decide which options make sense for you.
Making decarbonisation real
Organisations are at various stages of the climate journey, but pressures are prompting most businesses to consider their carbon emissions. The push for a low-carbon economy is coming from several directions, including an evolving regulatory and market landscape; customers, investors and other stakeholders; as well as emerging solutions and incentives for decarbonisation.
One of the key prerequisites to change is getting your team onboard with the mission. Stakeholders across the organisation – not just leadership – need to understand the value of decarbonisation from both environmental and business perspectives.
Once you are aligned, adequate resources and a system for tracking emissions are essential. You can then use one or more of six central levers to begin reducing your carbon footprint:
- Reduce consumption
- Transition to electrification
- Produce renewable energy on site
- Source renewable energy
- Address supply chain emissions
- Fill in the gaps with offsets
Throughout the process, your team will need to consider the availability and feasibility of each approach, the potential carbon impact, costs and potential for effecting price hedging and the claims your organisation should and shouldn’t make about your efforts
As you evaluate your options, remember that the process of decarbonisation will need to be continually assessed and re-evaluated. If you find that one approach doesn’t move the needle quite far enough, you can always adjust. The key is getting started now since progress can’t be made until it is begun.
Solar in a changing landscape
Solar is an increasingly popular option for decarbonisation and allows organisations to produce a portion of their own energy rather than being fully dependent on the grid. If your company has the infrastructure needed to install onsite solar, there are several benefits:
- Meet energy transition goals with this clean energy solution
- Using a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) or financing onsite solar offers the cheapest energy hedge available
- Leverage your existing infrastructure, like your roof, car park or open land to generate solar energy
- New technology offers long life span with reasonable maintenance
But solar is just one of a series of options for decarbonisation. Carbon offsets, renewable energy credits (RECs) and other solutions allow your organisation to compensate for carbon emissions.
Regardless of where you are in your energy journey, World Kinect is here to guide your company through the ever-changing and increasingly complex energy landscape. Our customers have access to the leading minds in the sector and are at the ready with insights and ideas to help you reach your own energy goals.