As Australia works to transition to a sustainable future, it is essential there is a shared understanding of the energy transition to ensure that, as far as possible, no-one is left behind. 

Each year, KPMG conducts a nationwide survey to understand consumer sentiment, perception and awareness regarding the energy transition. This year’s results reveal that although the majority of Australians support it, general understanding of what the energy transition entails remains low. 

How can we bridge this gap? The Human side of the energy transition report examines this year’s survey results and provides a series of insights to help build social licence and deepen shared understanding of the energy transition in Australia.

The results are in: Australia needs a human-centred energy transition

Our November 2023 survey revealed that only 28 percent of Australians had heard the term ‘energy transition’, while a larger percentage have heard of ‘renewable energy’ (77%) or ‘clean energy’ (68%). 

In evaluating consumer behaviour and perceived social impact, we found that there are still low levels of understanding about the energy transition and what it entails, but once informed, 63 percent of Australians support the energy transition. Concerns about the rising cost of energy, and declining confidence that Australia will reach its energy targets, pose significant challenges to how the nation successfully implements its energy transition plan. 

Increasing public awareness and knowledge is a key step towards ensuring a Just Energy Transition. As the urgency to meet 2030 climate targets intensifies, it’s more crucial than ever to uplift understanding of the energy transition. 

Only 1 in 4 have heard of the term ‘energy transition’

63% support the concept of the energy transition

Only 23% report to have at least some understanding of what the energy transition is.

46% are willing to invest in renewable energy in their homes

Younger Australians are more likely to be willing to pay more for power to facilitate the energy transition (42% of under 35s)

52% think the government (federal or state) absolutely must take action to support the transition to clean energy

Risks in neglecting a human-centred energy transition

Failing to adopt a human-centred green energy transition could mean Australia risks falling short of our sustainability goals. The potential consequences of inaction include:

  • an unbalanced energy trilemma
  • rising public and shareholder activism
  • increased regulatory pressure
  • lack of stakeholder trust
  • potential loss of social licence
  • disruptions to operations
  • an increasing social divide between those able to invest in renewable sources and those who cannot (including renters)
  • lack of progress building the infrastructure needed to decarbonise the energy system
  • a disengaged and unskilled workforce.

Bridging the gap and improving consumer sentiment

To improve the chances of a successful implementation, a human-centred approach to the energy transition in Australia must be adopted. And, a unified narrative from both government and industry, built on the foundation of shared understanding, will help mitigate potential consumer resistance and create a positive path forwards.

How KPMG is helping support a human-centred energy transition

KPMG supports the equitable transformation of our energy system to provide sustainable, affordable, secure and reliable energy.

We see our purpose as empowering the collective journey towards net zero – making the world better, together. Through this research, we are committed to building a longitudinal view to better understand people’s awareness and perceptions of the energy transition, now and over time.

Leveraging our insights and global knowledge, KPMG supports clients in creating targeted insight-led strategies that build the social licence needed to deliver this era-defining transition. Together, we can ensure no-one is left behind.

Get in touch with our team to get started

Download The human side of energy transition report

Human side of the energy transition

Understand Australian consumer perceptions and attitudes towards the energy transition and why the country must increase public awareness and understanding to facilitate a human-centred energy transition.

Download report (PDF 3MB)