Adelaide could be first zero-carbon city in world with South Australia’s new entrepreneur contest

Reading time: 5 minutes
15 March 2016

LONDON: Adelaide has launched a low carbon contest with an AU$250,000 (~US$187,000) prize, which is open to innovative entrepreneurs who can help the South Australian capital become the world’s first carbon neutral city.

South Australia’s Low Carbon Entrepreneur Prize will transform groundbreaking ideas from around the world into real projects, and is the first initiative of the ‘Adelaide to Zero Carbon Challenge’ which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while stimulating opportunities for pioneering green businesses.

“We are committed to make Adelaide the first carbon neutral city in the world,” says South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill. “But to achieve this bold goal we need the collaboration of forward-thinking entrepreneurs. Businesses play a fundamental role in tackling climate change, and they increasingly recognize the opportunities arising from the switch to a low carbon economy.

“Collaboration is also at the base of our work with The Climate Group’s States & Regions Alliance, which we are honored to co-chair. Through the peer-exchange of best practices and innovative policy tools, we can develop a comprehensive legislation that is good for businesses, our citizens and the environment.”


The prize is open to an international audience with the clause that the project must have a South Australian organization as a partner, in order to spur the state’s green jobs market.

Today the Australian Bureau of statistics revealed that the number of Australians working in renewable energy has fallen 3% in the past financial year. In particular, in South Australia these numbers fell from 2360 full-time jobs in the sector in 2012 to 940 last year.

“States, provinces and regions have already demonstrated in Paris their crucial role in tackling climate change on an international level,” comments Libby Ferguson, States & Regions Director, The Climate Group.

“With the Entrepreneur’s prize, South Australia is showing how subnational governments play a crucial role in stimulating their local economies with innovative policies and initiatives – even when their national counterparts have not fully grasped the opportunity offered by the low carbon economy.

“The initiative launched by Premier Jay Weatherill to make Adelaide carbon neutral shows how our members of the States & Regions Alliance are making bold climate commitments that will attract talent, create new jobs and build long-term prosperity for citizens and businesses.”


Set in partnership with the South Australian government and the Adelaide City Council, the ‘Adelaide to Zero Carbon Challenge’ builds on existing environmental policies while investing in energy efficiency, renewables, public transport and reducing emissions from waste.

This ‘laboratory’ of new ideas will help shape the future of South Australia, an arid region that is particularly vulnerable to disruption caused by climate change. For this reason, this year the state is retiring its coal generation assets while increasing its use of renewables – which are targeted to reach half of the state’s energy generation by 2025 from the current 41%.

South Australia has also pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 60% from 1990 levels by 2050. The state’s wind power capacity already represents 35% of the whole country, and it is also a leader in solar energy.

“South Australia already has a strong record in renewables and by positioning ourselves at the forefront of change we can attract the next wave of investment in the low carbon economy,” concludes Premier Jay Weatherill.

“This is the philosophy behind the Adelaide to Zero Carbon Challenge – to seek out the ideas and develop the innovative solutions that will help the State capture that investment.”

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