14 November 2002 – Australia’s renewable energy market offers significant business opportunities and could be worth A$4bn ($2.23bn) a year by 2010, a new report said today.

The report to government, “Renewable and other sustainable energy technologies are the energy growth industries of the 21st century,” by the Business Council for Sustainable Energy [BCSE] covered the industry’s first two years under the Renewable Energy Action Agenda.

The BSCE president Andrew Stock said, “They deliver, not just on significantly cutting Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions, but also huge economic and business wins for Australia.”

The BCSE represents businesses developing renewable energy sources including wind, solar power and a more effective conversion of waste into energy. One of its members, the Australian Cooperative Research Centre for Renewable Energy (Acre) said 40 per cent of the expected sales growth would come from overseas. “The real concept here is to leave fossil fuel in the ground,” said ACRE managing director Frank Reid. “There’s a general recognition that we’re moving to a more carbon constrained future.” While there were still differences of opinion on how soon the goal should be reached, there was broad consensus on that aim, he said.

Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane, who received the interim BSCE report, said the industry would realise its vision of becoming a sustainable, internationally competitive industry within the next eight years. A recent BSCE study showed renewable energy delivered up to five times as many jobs and twice the local investment of traditional power generation such as coal.