Energy Next Celebrates an Increase in Attendees As Focus on Clean Energy Goals Becomes Critical

Energy Next Celebrates an Increase in Attendees As Focus on Clean Energy Goals Becomes Critical

A sense of urgency and increasing pressure to achieve clean energy goals, meaning collaboration and creative thinking to achieve Net Zero, were the overall key messages being communicated at the recent Energy Next exhibition.

Energy Next has wrapped for 2023 with an increase in show numbers. The first day welcomed the same number of visitors through the door as attended for the whole event in 2022, a testament to the healthy bounce back of the events industry and the growth in the clean energy sector.

With an energetic show floor, an Industry Theatre packed with audiences throughout both days, along with hundreds of interesting conversations and deals being made, the event has been celebrated as being a success for the clean energy market.

Events like Energy Next that allow clean energy professionals to network and share ideas are critical for Australia to reach its challenging clean energy goals and strategies that many of this year’s speakers referenced the country should have started 30 years ago.

Dr Nicole Kuepper-Russell, Deputy CEO 5B, captured the sense of urgency for the industry saying that when she thinks about how close 2030 is it ‘terrifies her.’ Dr Kuepper-Russell said, “We need to decarbonise rapidly. We need to electrify everything and deploy at enormous scale, well beyond the industrial revolution.

“The country needs 80 terawatts of power and 60 x more terawatts on the ground by 2030. And there are major challenges. Labour is becoming scarce, with an ageing population. The large scale solar farms are in highly remote sites. Materials are scarce and land is scarce. So, we urgently need to think creatively about how we achieve these goals.”

The education component of the expo was kicked off by Warwick Johston, Director of Sunwiz, who highlighted the gap in the number of solar companies and who was benefiting from the revenues, with 12% of businesses only installing one system per year. And suggesting that people in the PV market need to look at future trends and diversify their offering, i.e. not just focusing on PV, but looking to EV’s, which he suggested will drive the PV market moving forward.

EVs were a focal point throughout the Energy Next education agenda with David Malicki, Manager, Program and Market Development – Net Zero, NSW Government saying, “There is an inevitable shift to the electrification of vehicles with numbers increasing and propensity to buy increasing. Right now, 8% of vehicles per month are EVs, but this is growing. One of the major challenges is that there aren’t enough EV’s coming into the Australian market to meet demand.”

The shift of EVs presents opportunities, but also lots of challenges with things that need to be put in place to ensure that the country is ready for this consumer shift.

Rosemary Tan, Managing Director, I-Charge Solutions said about the challenges, “The major challenges are around public trust in the vehicles and the charging stations. The public needs to know that there is a working infrastructure and then the industry needs to understand the data and plan for load management so that we don’t have system outages.”

Another challenge, highlighted by Jason Venning, FIMER Country Manager – Australia and New Zealand, is affordability.  “EV’s are still expensive and so the industry needs government incentives to ensure that everyone gets fair and equal access to be able to own an EV,” said Venning.

But the opportunity for the EV market in Australia is huge with Schneider Electric’s recently launched report saying that 51% of businesses say that they want to electrify their fleet.

Grid stability and load management planning was a key concern for many panellists when looking at the EV growth and adoption, as well as other clean energy goals. Brett Milne, Managing Director and Founder, Karit said “Networks are under a lot of stress as we keep adding new things in and, to be honest, it will crumble if we don’t work together to maintain this.”

Milne identifies virtual power plants as a way of taking the load of the network, “There are a lot of different definitions of a virtual power plant but one of the main benefits is the ability to share from one side to another. We are seeing this being used on quite a large scale, with factories, wineries and residential dwellings connecting and sharing. These power plants bring stability and the ability to timeshift energy, amongst a number of other benefits.”

Government subsidies and sourcing funding quickly was another key challenge highlighted throughout Energy Next, for example, subsidies on EV’s and air pumps to encourage greater uptake by consumers and accessibility to rapid funding models being made available to innovative green technology and projects that can help the country achieve their clean energy goals.

During both the ‘Long Duration Energy Storage Technologies and Development’ panel  and the ‘Insights on How NSW Industry is Leading the Clean Energy Revolution,’ both panels discussed needing financial backing to scale up quickly.

Mark Swinnerton, CEO of Green Gravity said that the opportunity for gravity storage was huge with 60 disused mine shafts in Australia and hundreds of thousands around the world, turning these legacy mining sites into assets for renewable energy.

Energy data, intelligent systems, ensuring energy efficiency in the existing systems will help plan and prepare for the pressures on the grid moving forward.

The Clean Energy Council’s Solar Masterclass sessions were full of installers and PV professionals keen to learn more about compliance, maintenance, safety and best practice, as well as EV installation tips and an introduction to microgrids.

Gary Edgar, Technical Services SME, Clean Energy Council, said, “The Solar Masterclass sessions provide a great platform to engage installers on industry requirements. Energy Next provides a good base for products and new technologies for consumers to consider and has been a great place for CEC to connect with the industry.”

With connections made and information shared, visitors and exhibitors all seemed united in the need for events like Energy Next to help fast track Australia’s clean energy goals.

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About RX (Reed Exhibitions)

RX is in the business of building businesses for individuals, communities and organisations. We elevate the power of face to face events by combining data and digital products to help customers learn about markets, source products and complete transactions at approximately 400 events in 22 countries across 42 industry sectors. RX is passionate about making a positive impact on society and is fully committed to creating an inclusive work environment for all our people.  RX is part of RELX, a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business



About RELX

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About Clean Energy Council

The Clean Energy Council is the peak body for the clean energy industry in Australia. We represent and work with hundreds of leading businesses operating in solar, wind, hydro, bioenergy, energy storage, hydrogen and emerging technologies along with more than 7500 solar and battery storage installers. We are committed to accelerating the transformation of Australia’s energy system to one that is smarter and cleaner. More information at


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