Australian industries lacking the skills to decarbonise

by Jarrod Leak, CEO of A2EP

As the Australian economy struggles with skills shortage across the board,


Many Australian organisations have moved past the question of whether to decarbonise and are now focussing on the ‘how’. In doing so, they are realising that while emissions reduction targets have broad support from employees (and the community), there is not enough understanding of the technologies and practical approaches that are available to reach those targets, nor of the roles that employees beyond the energy/operational management roles have to play.


Every day I speak to energy and sustainability managers who are excited at finally having the support for bold decarbonisation targets yet frustrated at the lack of capacity within their organisations to not just tackle emissions but to maximise business benefits and opportunities as they do.


All signs indicate that carbon offsets will be an increasingly expensive way to tackle emissions. Going down the offset route also fails to uncover a range of benefits and opportunities that will improve productivity and competitiveness.


Multiple teams in a business stand to benefit from decarbonisation and therefore required a greater understanding of the path and opportunities ahead: senior management and finance teams will like the long-term cost savings and productivity improvements, sustainability managers love the assistance in meeting targets and waste reduction, while marketing and external relations team appreciate the boost decarbonisation efforts give to a company’s reputation.


In our work at the Australian Alliance for Energy Productivity (A2EP) we have long been promoting the technologies and energy productivity-focussed approaches that will deliver lower energy use, less emissions but also tangible non-energy benefits, such as monitoring systems to detect inefficiencies and faults in real-time, alternatives to compressed air-powered tools that offer increased precision and less waste, and also technologies to electrify and store process heat, allowing utilisation of on-site renewable generation and participation in demand management.


However, we have recognised that as fantastic as these technologies and approaches are, the benefits won’t be realised without investing in the skills and capacity of team members with an interest in decarbonisation. We have responded to this clear gap by developing short, in-person decarbonisation training courses, led by industry experts: Associate Professor Andrea Trianni from UTS, Alan Pears AM from RMIT and Roger Horwood of Energetics.


The first course, Decarbonisation Technologies 101, is a one-day session which introduces the decarbonisation challenges, technologies and approaches that can be implemented, ways to measure impacts and how to build a business case. The follow-up two-day course, Integrative design for decarbonisation and energy productivity, digs deeper, looking at how approaching business planning and decisions via an energy productivity lens can unlock broad business benefits, in addition to reduced emissions.


Decarbonisation Technologies 101 will be hosted in Sydney on Wednesday 7 September and in Melbourne on Monday 12 September, with places limited to 16 for each course and Covid-safe measures in place. Learn more at: www.a2ep.org.au/training