Collaboration the key energy sector challenges and opportunities
Deputy Premier Roger Cook has highlighted the need for collaboration and the right mix of energy sources as Western Australia aspires to play a leading role in moving towards a cleaner energy future.
Speaking at the opening session of the 2023 AOG Energy event, Mr Cook said Western Australia boasted several competitive advantages such as an abundance of natural renewable resources, excellent track record of large project execution and existing infrastructure.
Mr Cook believes these advantages, combined with the stability of the State’s environment, social and regulatory environment, skilled workforce and long standing international relationships, can place the State in a unique position to be a global leader in clean energy.
However, Mr Cook also acknowledged the opportunity brings challenges, a view supported by fellow speakers Mark Hatfield, Managing Director of Chevron Australia, and Mike Price, Acting Executive Vice President of Australian Operations for Woodside Energy.
Mr Hatfield emphasised the balance involved in energy investment and the need for the sector to change with energy demand and the need to keep evolving while Mr Price said the twin challenges of energy security and energy transition must be met together.
All agreed that collaboration is the key to meeting the decarbonisation challenge and realising the opportunity at hand. “Decarbonisation is a responsibility shared” Mr Cook said before outlining the roles the State Government and industry are playing to achieve net zero.
For Government, Mr Cook highlighted the retirement of coal fired energy and the $3.8 billion investment in green energy infrastructure, aimed at reducing emissions associated with the Southwest Interconnected System by 40%. He also discussed the contribution of industry, including projects such as Woodside’s H2Perth project and the Australian Renewable Energy Hub in the Pilbara.
In a wide ranging address, Mr Cook emphasised the role of hydrogen and the partnership between government, industry and the research sector in establishing hydrogen hubs in the Pilbara, Midwest and South West.
Mr Cook went on to discuss the need for balancing the energy mix during the transition, stressing that gas has a significant role to play as peak supply today and as firming supply in the future. He also drew attention to the ongoing need for gas in processing for sectors such as the cement and chemical manufacturing industries.
International collaboration is also required to meet the global challenge of net zero. “No single country or nation has the solution,” said Mr Hatfield. “But with collaboration, good things can happen.” Mr Cook echoed this view saying WA has been a reliable and secure supplier of energy for decades and that by working with global partners this will continue into the future.
The theme of collaboration will continue at the 2023 AOG Energy event with over 6,000 delegates registered to attend over the three day event to hear from 160 speakers and meeting with over 200 exhibitors from over 24 countries.