Australian manufacturing to be boosted through Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts

Some of Australia’s most exciting manufacturing and tech companies give support

11 March 2021

Beyond Zero Emissions is collecting expressions of interest from Australian companies to demonstrate there is a strong demand for Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts in both the Hunter region of New South Wales and the Gladstone region of Queensland.

Some of Australia’s most exciting and innovative manufacturing and technology companies — including Molycop, Ampcontrol and MGA Thermal — have already given support for a Hunter-based precinct, which will be powered by 100% renewable energy.

CEO of Beyond Zero Emissions, Heidi Lee, said, “Right now, Australia has an opportunity to meet growing global demand for zero-emissions products as countries and companies commit to eliminating greenhouse gas emissions.

“Establishing Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts help our domestic manufacturers seize that competitive advantage Australia’s abundance of renewable energy offers. They also benefit companies who rely on low-emissions supply chains for their business.

“But with countries around the world eyeing the same prize, there’s no time to lose.”

The precincts would be located either within Renewable Energy Zones or connected to renewable energy generation through high voltage transmission lines with access to clean heat and renewable hydrogen production and infrastructure.

They would provide strong benefits to energy-intensive businesses such as aluminium smelting, hydrogen production, green steel manufacture, chemicals production, recycling and data centres. They would also provide a home for manufacturers of clean technologies such as wind turbines, batteries, electric vehicle chargers, electric buses and mining equipment.

After landmark offtake agreements with both Bowman Solar farm and Sapphire Wind farm in 2019, Australian steel manufacturer Molycop became one of the largest supporters of investment in renewable energy in Australia. Molycop Australasia President Michael Parker has supported a Renewable Energy Industrial Precinct in the Hunter as they continued to find ways to decarbonise.

“Molycop is committed to further reducing the carbon emissions associated with our products and operations and Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts here in the Hunter will help us achieve that. Here at Molycop we are extremely proud of being at the forefront of reducing the carbon emissions associated with our steel products.

“The precincts should include circular economy initiatives, so that business and the community are encouraged to recycle and recover valuable materials from waste streams.”

Beyond Zero Emissions is seeking expressions of interest from proponents interested in locating in two Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts: the Hunter and Gladstone. While the organisation is currently focusing on these two locations there are many more regions around Australia that would also suit a Renewable Energy Industrial Precinct.

Beyond Zero Emissions’s Million Jobs Plan showed manufacturing for the zero-emissions economy, including renewable hydrogen, ammonia, green steel, aluminium and other metals, could create 215,000 Australian jobs in the next five years.

Lee said reviving Australian manufacturing is important due to the sector’s special role in the economy. “More than any other sector, manufacturing is a driver of innovation, productivity growth and high-quality jobs. Manufacturing has a particularly powerful multiplier effect – the ability to create jobs indirectly – due to manufacturers’ reliance on extensive supply chains.

“The impact of COVID-19 on international supply chains has also reminded Australia that domestic manufacturing capacity is a critical component of national resilience.

“It’s time for Australia to once again become a strong manufacturing nation. And tapping into our abundance of low-cost renewable energy resources is key to that.”

Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts offer a range of advantages to Australian businesses:

  • Financial incentives such as grants and interest-free loans
  • Renewable energy at a guaranteed low price (<$55/MWh)
  • Reliable power supply ensured through a combination of storage and flexible demand
  • Streamlined planning and approval processes
  • Skilled labour and training programs tailored to the needs of the precinct
  • Critical infrastructure, including: transmission, hydrogen (production and heating network), waste and transport (rail, road and port logistics)

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