What does the future of Australia’s energy look like? MEC panel discussion tackles complex questions

A diverse panel of leaders from the resources sector discussed the future of energy at MEC Mining’s breakfast forum on 9 November.

As the world faces increasing threats from the effects of climate change, discussions around the transition to greener energy are of crucial global significance. This event brought together high-profile panellists who are passionate about the future of the world’s energy supply:

“Concerns about climate change, teamed with an ethical responsibility to reduce our environmental footprint, are shaping a revolution within the energy market on a global scale,” said Maria Joyce, MEC’s General Manager – Strategy and Business Development, as she opened the panel discussion at Alchemy Restaurant and Bar in Brisbane.

“While we are still so heavily reliant on fossil fuel energy such as coal and gas, how do we ensure a sustainable transition? How do we support the right level of focus on renewable technology while not turning a blind eye to fossil fuel assets that are key to electricity supply now – at the least for the next decade and maybe even beyond?”

The panel discussion, moderated by Maria Joyce, navigated three key themes:

  1. Who should be accountable for the energy security solution – consumers or industry/government?
    Does the Australian public need to adjust its expectations of consistent supply and its behaviours towards energy consumption? Or are industry and government responsible for providing sustainable energy solutions on tap at a competitive price?
  2. What is the role of investment and collaboration?
    From solar panels on cars to hydrogen-powered trains and high efficiency low emissions (HELE) plant technology, we are seeing innovative ways to support a cleaner future. Where are the highest levels of investment and collaboration happening, and are we getting it right?
  3. What does the future look like?
    Broadly speaking, how do you see the energy landscape changing if we step forward 50 years; what will the world look like for our grandchildren?

Dr Jennifer Purdie remarked about the way that energy is priced in the current market she believes as we are trying to transform our energy mix there are some aspects that we need to change. “Arguably the market design needs to change. We should seek to make Australia’s energy mix work for all Australians”.

As expected, the panel discussion and the Q&A were insightful and thought-provoking. The final theme for the event centered around Australia’s future energy mix. Panelist Andrew Barger noted there is not just an issue about quantity of electricity supply but also quality for supply. “For this reason there will still need to be demand for the guaranteed power sources such as coal, but there is definitely an opportunity to supplement the current supply with renewable sources to lower our carbon footprint”.

At MEC, we believe that collaboration and leveraging the diverse views and experience of industry experts and influencers will help us get Australia’s future energy mix right. Grappling with these complex and urgent questions in forums such as these is a vital step in re-envisioning the world’s future.

MEC will continue to facilitate similar events – if you’re interested in hearing more, email [email protected] and we’ll keep you in the loop so you don’t miss out.