Boosting smart, sustainable energy the world over
Smart Energy Council
Smart Energy Council members are forging success in overseas markets thanks not only to their quality products but also the services of DFAT and Austrade. Moreover, despite the uncertainty of today’s market, many Australian businesses remain confident about the future.
As the world transitions towards a more sustainable future, many Australian businesses are finding markets for their renewable energy technology and services. Australian made products – often referred to as energy ‘solutions’ – have gained a reputation for innovation and quality, says Smart Energy Council’s chief executive John Grimes. Two companies that have successfully established their brand overseas are Redflow and Selectronic
Redflow’s niche market
Redflow is an Australian energy storage company that has designed, developed and manufactured zinc-bromine flow batteries which solve many of the problems related to traditional lead-based batteries.
The company is currently achieving significant success in targeting telecommunications and commercial customers in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and South East Asia, chief executive Tim Harris explained.
“There are multiple opportunities for Redflow across many international markets. Offering a new energy storage technology, we have to spend considerable time to understand the local market and educate our end customers around our zinc-bromine flow battery solution”.
DFAT’s overseas network has been helpful to Redflow as it has targeted new markets, particularly in South Africa and South East Asia.
Several years ago, Redflow established its own manufacturing facility in Thailand, which is central for its global supply chains and well-located to supply its current target markets in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and South East Asia.
“As we move into a new market, we establish relationships with relevant staff at DFAT and the Austrade office in those target markets and have found them to be incredibly supportive, providing us with the relevant local knowledge that helps us avoid potential pitfalls and maximise our sales resources.”
Locally made, globally delivered
Selectronic is an Australian owned company that has been delivering energy solutions to Australia and the world – predominantly Indonesia, the Pacific Islands, Malaysia and Thailand – for more than 50 years.
The Melbourne based company manufacturers the SP PRO, the only locally made multi-mode, bi-directional inverter which forms the heart of every battery-based energy system.
With its vast experience in off-grid and grid-connect energy storage systems, Selectronic inverters are compatible with solar, wind, hydro, microgrids and diesel generators.
Managing Director Rod Scott says given the relatively small size of Australia’s market, exports to regions with larger populations makes a lot of sense from an economic and cost-effective perspective.
“And the quality of Australian products is well recognised overseas which works to our advantage, so as a local manufacturer we are always on the lookout for opportunities, however pricing [of Australian made goods for export] is an issue in most markets,” he said.
“And when you are new to a market you have to establish your name and brand and find the right partners including strategic EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) contracts.”
Some of the challenges that have been encountered include political unrest in some regions, local content laws (that restrict foreign goods, regardless of quality), and bribery and corruption – hence the importance of finding the right partners.
“High duties also act as a barrier, and although duties in the European Union are not high, navigating individual compliance across the continent can be more challenging,” Rod Scott said.
The Smart Energy Council is the voice of renewable energy. Chief Executive John Grimes says reducing carbon emissions in the energy sector is the way forward and sits at the heart of the Smart Energy Council’s ethos. The peak body is committed to an acceleration of the transition to a sustainable, climate smart renewable energy future for Australia.
“We have the skills, technology and ample solar and wind resources to ramp up the output of renewable energy here and overseas, and many of our members are taking their innovative offerings and expertise to the world,” he said.
With around 1,000 members across Australia and a network of 26,000 people, the not-for-profit organisation produces numerous events, activities and materials relating to solar and wind power, battery storage and ‘green’ hydrogen.