Bilateral energy dialogue between Australia and Germany picks up speed

Australian-German Energy Symposium 2019

High-ranking experts and stakeholders discussed the challenges and opportunities of the German and Australian energy transition at the Australian-German Energy Symposium, which took place Melbourne on 18 and 19 September 2019.


Polarisation in Australian energy policy offers plenty of topics for discussion: While abundant raw materials have historically provided low energy prices, consumer prices for electricity and gas have gone up dramatically in recent years due to increased exports. At the same time, some regions of Australia are experiencing fundamental changes in their electricity systems with a growing share of renewables. Repeated blackouts create ongoing public debate about system security policy.

The situation in Germany is different, but there are many parallel challenges and opportunities. The central question of the symposium was: Where are differences and similarities, and where can the countries learn from one another?

Australian-German Energy Symposium: Two days of intense discussion

On September 18 and 19, high-ranking experts and stakeholders from German and Australian energy policy and finance gathered in Melbourne at the Australian-German Energy Symposium. The two-day conference addressed challenges and opportunities for both countries on their way to a low-emission energy system.

More than 150 participants from government, industry, research and civil society discussed power system transformation, the integration of decentralised generation and the decarbonisation of other sectors. Among other things, the high-ranking panels dealt with social-structural change and the future of hydrogen and synthetic fuels. Keynote speakers included Lily D’Ambrosio, Victoria County’s Energy Minister, Jochen Homann, Federal Network Agency President, Ines Willox, CEO of the Australian Industry Group, and Felix Matthes from the Ökoinstitut.

The symposium was organised by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the Australian Department of the Environment and Energy (DoEE) and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). adelphi, the German-Australian Chamber of Industry and Commerce and the German-Australian Energy Transition Hub helped organise and put off the event.

adelphi reports on energy policy and the hydrogen industry

In the run-up to the symposium, the adelphi energy team contributed important information to serve as the bases for the talks. The updated overview of Australia’s Energy Policy from adelphi and RAP informed the discussions in Melbourne.

Franziska Teichmann and Raffaele Piria focused on hydrogen. In the otherwise highly polarised energy policy of Australia, a rare consensus has formed: building a hydrogen export industry overlaps the interests of more progressive and conservative groups. There are differences when it comes to energy sources – on the one hand, there is enormous potential for renewable energy in Australia; on the other, there are efforts to make fossil-fuel-based hydrogen play a central role. The federal government will decide the way forward in its planned national hydrogen strategy for the end of 2019. adelphi’s study on the topic, ‘The Hydrogen Debate in Australia’ provides a comprehensive overview of the situation and the ongoing debates.