Australia has made quite a few headlines in the CleanTech / Environmental industries recently, both from investments and policy changes perspectives. Can Australia really become an influential party in this future industry?
Reasons why Australia can become a global leader in CleanTech Industry:
1. It has vast resources and it is well positioned in developing areas such as Clean Coal and Geothermal energy
2. Australia has a potential in developing a lot of successful solar energy related projects
3. Australia is a leader in terms of waste management, both in terms of technology and policies. Many Asian Governments have hired consultants from Australia to improve their waste management regulations and policies
4. Australia is amongst one of the global leaders in water management and has large scale water conservation and management programs in place
5. The current Government is encouraging investments in the CleanTech & Environmental industries, including increasing funding and different grants for it.
What will make Australia becoming a major CleanTech power globally?
As we have seen, population is not necessarily directly related to economy. There are successful economies in the environmental sectors globally that are small countries, Singapore, Israel are 2 very good examples, as well as Denmark and Norway.
In our opinion, as Australia is a relatively small “market”, it needs to consider exporting its technologies and management skills overseas, this is already happening, but we strongly believe that many Australian CleanTech technologies & developments have significant potential opportunities overseas, but not within Australia.
Another point is to have more investment firms dedicated to investing in Australian CleanTech sectors. Thus far, the Australian capital market is still very much skewed towards the mining & resources sectors, we hope more investment firms will have specific interest in CleanTech (and IT, Telecommunications and Biotechnology sectors).
Lastly, we hope in the near future, Australian Universities, which are known to have very strong innovation capability, but generally speaking, lack of commercialization experience.
We hope the Australian Universities can take the more US and German approach to encourage students to develop their products and turn them into real entrepreneurs through “Entrepreneurship Programs”, in US, a lot of Venture Capital Funds are backed by Universities, this provides a consistent “deal flow” and “Commercialization” programs. Such program will encourage more R&D projects. This is already becoming increasingly active in the biotechnology sectors in Australia; we hope this can also be expanded into CleanTech sectors.
Overall, we believe there are a strong foundation and a good environment in place for Australia to become an emerging CleanTech power in the medium term.