Innovative Australian renewable energy companies are finding success by moving their operations to countries, such as Germany, which are much more supportive of renewable technology.

Germany plans to produce 80% of its energy from renewables by 2050. The German government claims that its program to achieve this, called Energiewende, has already saved billions in fuel costs, created new businesses worth €40 billion a year and additional employment for up to 400,000 people. At the same time, the income of Germany’s four big utility companies has been slashed as they have been slow to adopt renewable technologies – together owning only about 10% of renewable energy capacity. Companies such as banks, industrial concerns and project developers own 40% of Germany’s renewable energy installations; farmers and private investors own half.

One Australian company, Ceramic Fuel Cells, has become a world leader in commercialising its Australian-developed Solid Oxide Fuel Cell technology since moving most of its operations to Germany two years ago. The company recently announced the delivery of its 500th unit, having achieved a sales increase of 47% in the last financial year

Another Australian company, Brisbane-based Tritium, has signed a preferred-supplier agreement for its fast chargers for electric vehicles with E-WALD, a German company which operates a fleet of electric cars and charging stations across Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Tritium’s Veefil chargers can add 50 kilometres range capacity to an electric vehicle battery in just 10 minutes, rather than more than three hours using a wall socket. They are designed for use in areas, such as shopping centres, coffee shops, airports and highway service centres. The chargers were fully developed in Australia as part of a $2.3-million project funded with matching support of a Commercialisation Australia grant.