The energy landscape is undergoing unprecedented change. To explore what the energy landscape could look like, KPMG asked 30 Voices to place themselves in 2030 and look back over the last ten years. The 30 Voices in this report cover every facet of the energy industry and beyond – from incumbents to challengers, big tech firms to investors, government ministers to academics and more.
In 2030, many countries and companies are on the way to realising their net zero goals, while the pace of change in the sector has been faster than at any other time in its history. The foundation of this new energy system has shifted from fossil fuels to clean electrification. While climate change concerns have forced stricter decarbonisation and ESG targets for both governments and companies, seeking to stay relevant to consumers has become a priority, meaning getting to net zero is now at the top of most corporate agendas.
Six areas of change for the Australian energy landscape
The future is anyone’s guess. Taken together, the Voices create a valuable chorus of insight and expertise. Their predictions for the industry span six areas in which KPMG also envisages dramatic change.
- Renewables are now predominantly powering Australia.
- Closure of coal-fired power plants is underway. Gas continues to be an option to provide firming capacity for intermittent renewables.
- Hydrogen, green and blue, dominates the remaining decarbonisation journey.
"COVID-19 has triggered a greater appreciation among customers for organisations who can get the basics right, even under crisis; including minimising time and effort in delivering to expectations, providing value and supporting vulnerable customers."
Innes Willox, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Industry Group (AI Group)
"In 2030 we're at peak energy sector disruption – and that's a good thing..."
Dr Patrick Hartley, Leader, CSIRO Hydrogen Industry Mission, CSIRO Energy
- ESG has been incorporated in core business strategy. Laggards will be starved from capital investments.
- The entire energy value chain has been overhauled and reconfigured.
- Electrification and low emissions transportation are transforming whole cities and industries.
"Today, I think there is more of a mindset that we are all in this together, all our actions have an impact, and we need to collaborate more to drive real change."
Lynne Gallagher, Chief Executive Officer, Energy Consumers Australia
"Capital flows best to those companies demonstrating strong ESG principles and best practice behaviours."
Jason Chang, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, EMR Capital
- The availability of data and artificial intelligence (AI) has increased demand flexibility and energy efficiency; protecting the consumer is paramount.
- Cyber security is a priority investment focus to future proof the new energy system.
- Digital verification and tracking of energy and emissions has become standard in global trade.
"The more intelligence we can build into the energy system, the more resilient it becomes."
Brian Janous, General Manager of Energy & Renewables, Microsoft
"The energy transition has brought a tsunami of data – it’s like standing in front of a fire hydrant and trying to drink."
Justine Jarvinen, Chief Executive Officer, UNSW Energy Institute
- The energy industry is facing a talent crisis for contemporary energy and technology skills.
- The data driven energy system is seeing a rise in demand for data management and AI skills; data is also driving more leadership decisions.
- Increasing uncertainties around the pandemic and climate change mean operational resilience is crucial.
"Our leaders have become more effective because they take the time to really know and understand our people – they are skilled talent developers and connect our people with meaning and purpose."
Joanne Fox, Executive, People and Culture, AGL Energy
"We have invested in more TAFE courses specialising in new energy technologies. As such, we have been able to grow an entire ecosystem of new energy technology skills."
The Hon. Lily D'Ambrosio MP, Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Minister for Solar Homes, Victorian Government
- In an evolving geopolitical landscape, the race to decarbonise is amplifying uncertainties.
- Net zero is a bipartisan issue; the urgency of acting to mitigate the impact of climate change has accelerated policy making.
- Governments have reinforced policies to protect consumers and communities.
"The green transition has led to new geopolitical tensions..."
Robert J. Johnston, MD Energy, Climate & Resources and Executive Advisor, Eurasia Group
"Globally, affluent low carbon markets like Europe and the US have resorted to industrial protectionism to help them protect domestic markets while transitioning to a lower carbon economy."
Matthew Warren, Energy Journalist and Market Commentator
- Technology focus is positioned around emissions reduction and clean energy.
- "Green investment" now known as simply "investment".
- The decarbonisation action is now with hard-to-abate sectors.
"Many new energy technologies, such as hydrogen, stored carbon, carbon capture and storage, support Australia's economy today - it has led the way in showing that a growing economy can decarbonise."
The Hon. Angus Taylor MP, Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, Australian Government
"Capitalism has been redefined – companies who destroy the environment find it very hard to operate."
Tim Buckley, Director of Energy Finance Studies, Australasia, IEEFA
Find out what the 30 Voices have to say: