Buoyant mood at energy conference

Here are some of the key take-outs from AOG energy 2024.

Government, ASX, Conference, Energy, Western Australia

Ray Jordan 19 Apr 2024
3 mins

There was a buoyant mood at this year’s annual AOG Energy conference with thousands of attendees engaging with more than 200 exhibitors to hear about opportunities, trends, and challenges faced by the industry. 

Key themes to emerge from the conference were the continuing and growing focus on renewable energy and decarbonisation, and the emergence of decommissioning as a new industry in which WA can lead the nation. 

AOG Energy serves as a vital hub for industry professionals, fostering collaboration and driving progress toward a cleaner energy landscape in Australia.  

Here are some of the key take-outs from the conference. 

A green energy superpower 

State Energy Minister Reece Whitby said WA had the potential to become a green energy superpower, but it would require dedication, effort, and significant investment. 

“I want this State to have a smarter, greener, diversified economy and that means building a global hub, encompassing innovative solutions, clean technologies and abundant infrastructure,” Mr Whitby said. 

He added that the State was well-placed for a renewable energy shift, after a 

$3.8 billion infusion into its primary energy infrastructure aimed at boosting wind and battery storage, and a $60 billion allocation to The Investment Attraction Fund (IAF) to attract new investments into WA. 

Additionally, the introduction of a new green energy approvals unit, with a focus on vital minerals, hydrogen and renewable energy projects, further cements WA’s pole position for the transition to renewable energy. 

Decommissioning innovation leader 

Centre of Decommissioning Australia CEO Dr Francis Norman believes WA will play a pivotal role in  

leading innovation within the emerging decommissioning supply chain, as ageing offshore oil and gas infrastructure approaches the end of its life cycle. 

Dr Norman believes that with about 60 per cent of WA projects entering decommissioning stage, the region is well positioned to be the epicenter of industry innovation and growth. 

He said the pipeline for decommissioning work in WA had advanced significantly, with Chevron last year announcing plans to decommission its oil operations on Barrow Island to halt production by 2025. And Woodside Energy had also secured all essential contracts for decommissioning subsea infrastructure at the Enfield, Griffin, Stybarrow, and Echo/Yodel fields. 

“Over the last year-and-a-half, there has been a significant increase in investments from domestic and overseas businesses entering the decommissioning sector.” 

The importance of the arts 

The importance of nurturing an inclusive and diverse workplace and developing the next generation’s skillset by integrating the ‘Arts’ into the traditional STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) framework, transforming it into STEAM, was highlighted by Circular Echo CEO Mary Barry. 

Ms Barry believes if we shift our perspective to see arts integration as a means to not only create well-rounded individuals, but as a strategic move to foster creativity, we can cultivate a next generation of leaders, thinkers, and innovators equipped to navigate the complexities of the energy sector. 

“When we talk about preparing our workforce for the future, we must look beyond current industry professionals,” she said. The children of today are our energy sector of tomorrow. Our investment in their education, particularly through STEAM, is an investment in the future of energy,” Ms Barry said.  

The answer is blowin’ in the wind 

Wind energy was a key focus of the event. 

Discussions were dominated by the potential of wind energy, particularly focusing on the promise of offshore wind farms in WA. Experts predict commercial operations could be operational as early as 2032, driven by the region’s natural advantages for harnessing wind power to meet a significant portion of the State’s energy requirements. 

To keep pace with current energy demands, WA’s generation capacity needs to expand by five to six times, yet looking ahead to the potential for exporting green fuels and meeting local demand, this capacity may need to skyrocket by 20 to 40 times. 

Offshore wind energy is set to be a cornerstone solution in energy transition and WA’s abundant wind resources, combined with a strong demand for clean energy, provide a solid foundation for developing robust generation infrastructure. 

By 2042, WA aims to achieve a renewable energy storage target of 50 gigawatts, with offshore wind projects in the south-west anticipated to contribute 20%. 

Carbon capture a key

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is emerging as a key solution for industrial-scale carbon reduction. 

Deloitte’s Energy, Resources & Industrials Leader Bernadette Cullinane highlighted the role of CCS in the global effort to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. 

Ms Cullinane said CCS was a critical technology to be embraced in Australia and globally. 

She said that this approach was not only vital for reducing emissions, but also positioned Australia to maintain a competitive edge with customers in the Asian energy market. 

According to industry estimates, LNG demand is set to grow 50% by 2040, at the same time, countries are seeking more environmentally sustainable energy solutions.  

“Australia is a world leader in LNG production. Our exports generated $92 billion in revenue in 

2022-2023. To ensure this leading position, CCS will be required to sequester emissions across the end-to-end production, distribution, and processing value chains, ” Ms Cullinane said. 

Ray Jordan More from author

Ray is one of Western Australia’s most highly-regarded corporate communicators and strategists, recognised for his pragmatic and creative approach to major projects across different sectors.

Before moving to corporate communications, he held executive positions in the media – including the role of Deputy Editor of The West Australian – and has a proven ability to craft messages that resonate with both journalists and readers.

Ray’s knowledge of the media and respected corporate counsel at executive and board levels have been demonstrated through his direct involvement in the sale and subsequent partial public float of BankWest, including the communications program for a Scheme of Arrangement for majority shareholder HBOS to acquire the minority shareholding in BankWest.

After a lengthy career in corporate communications and the media, Ray continues to seek challenges and avenues to vent his creativity. He has written about wine for nearly 40 years, including 22 books – the latest of which is The Way It Was, which chronicles the history of Margaret River.

If he’s not writing or tasting wine, he might be found strumming his guitar to Tom Petty or writing travel features, after his regular morning boxing sessions.

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