Australia’s clean energy industry has announced a raft of postponements of major events and conferences, pushing back their schedules into the second half of the year in response to the growing need to contain the spread of COVID-19, or Coronavirus.
The Clean Energy Council, the Smart Energy Council and the Energy Efficiency Council have all, in the past 24 hours, announced new dates for conferences originally scheduled to occur over coming months, as state and federal governments update advice on how to help slow and contain the spread of the newly declared pandemic, COVID-19.
The Clean Energy Council announced late on Thursday that it had postponed six events, including the Wind Energy Forum, a Parliamentary Showcase event in Canberra and a series of installer and member events, with a view to rescheduling them for dates to be confirmed sometime after April 30.
“We understand the effect the COVID-19 situation is having on many of our members, installers and stakeholders, especially in relation to meetings and events. We have not taken this decision lightly and wanted to provide as much notice as possible of any changes to our events program,” the CEC said.
The Smart Energy Council on Friday morning announced the postponement of its April 7-8 Conference and Exhibition 2020, and Hydrogen 2020 conference, which will now take place on September 29 and 30.
In an interview with RenewEconomy on Friday morning, Grimes said the catalyst for the decision was the formal declaration of COVID-19 as a pandemic and the New South Wales government’s hinting at state-wide shut downs.
“We have listened to World Health Organisation (WHO) which has declared a global pandemic, the advice from the Australian government, and the NSW Premier’s comments on 11 March foreshadowing restrictions to large public events in NSW,” Grimes said in a statement.
“We have been very fortunate to secure dates for our event later this year.”
Grimes said that it was vital to the renewable energy industry that a united front was presented in the face of the Coronoavirus crisis, to avoid as much negative impact as possible.
On Friday, the Energy Efficiency Council also confirmed that they would postpone the National Energy Efficiency Conference, initially scheduled for May, and will look to hold the conference sometime in the second half of the year.
“We did not make this decision lightly. The Conference plays an important role in Australia’s energy sector, forging links between industry, government and experts, and progressing debates on critical energy management issues, said EEC CEO Luke Menzel.
“However, after careful consideration, we have concluded that a delay until later in the year is in the best interests of attendees, speakers and the broader community.”
Measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 have had an impact across most sectors and has seen the postponement of major events, across Australia and overseas, including most recently the 2020 Australian Grand Prix, which was set to take place in Melbourne this weekend.
All three industry groups said that they would contact all registered attendees and speakers for the events, to confirm next steps.
The Australian Hydrogen Council has also rescheduled the Australian Hydrogen Conference to 16-17 November 2020, from previously scheduled dates in March.
The Australian Energy Storage Conference and Exhibition 2020, scheduled to be held in Adelaide in late May, is currently planning to proceed as planned, but organisers said that they are closely monitoring developments with respect to COVID-19.
As of Thursday, Australia had 126 confirmed cases of COVID-19, which includes American actors Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, and has led to the cancellation of several major events.
Readers can view the latest information on COVID-19 from the federal Department of Health, here.
Events Postponed in response to COVID-19
Clean Energy Council:
• Perth Member Mixer – 18 March 2020
• CEO Forum (Canberra) – 25 March 2020
• Parliamentary Reception (Canberra) – 25 March 2020
• Perth Installer Night – 25 March 2020
• Wind Industry Forum (Melbourne) – 31 March 2020
• Adelaide Installer Night – 22 April 2020
New dates for all events to be confirmed, to be held after 30 April.
Smart Energy Council:
• Smart Energy Conference & Exhibition 2020 (Sydney)
• Hydrogen 2020 (Sydney)
New dates for both events are 29 and 30 September.
Energy Efficiency Council:
• National Energy Efficiency Conference 2020 (Melbourne)
New date to be confirmed.
Australian Hydrogen Council:
• Australian Hydrogen Conference (Melbourne)
New dates – 16 and 17 November 2020.