Repowering Australian manufacturing

Through Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts

The Hunter Gladstone

It’s time for Australia to once again become a strong manufacturing nation.

To do so we have to tap into our abundance of low-cost renewable energy resources.

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.

And there’s no time to lose. With other countries eyeing the same prize, we must seize our competitive advantage and establish Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts.

What is a Renewable Energy Industrial Precinct?

Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts in Gladstone, Queensland and the Hunter Valley, New South Wales will add a windfall of $13 billion to the economy and 45,000 ongoing jobs by 2032.

Read the key findings of new research released by leading economic analysts ACIL Allen, commissioned by Beyond Zero Emissions and WWF-Australia.

Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts: Economic Analysis

Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts in Gladstone, Queensland and the Hunter Valley, New South Wales will add a windfall of $13 billion to the economy and 45,000 ongoing jobs by 2032.

Read the key findings of new research released by leading economic analysts ACIL Allen, commissioned by Beyond Zero Emissions and WWF-Australia.

Read the report

Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts support clusters of manufacturers powered by 100% renewable energy. Together we can give Australian manufacturers a global edge in growing zero-emissions markets by providing access to low-cost, reliable energy.

These precincts would be located either within Renewable Energy Zones or connected to renewable energy generation through high voltage transmission lines. They will also have access to clean heat and renewable hydrogen production and infrastructure. Precincts will be situated in existing industrial zones, benefiting from skilled workforces and infrastructure including roads, rail freight and seaports.

Why Australia needs manufacturing

The Million Jobs Plan shows manufacturing for the zero-emissions economy, including renewable hydrogen, ammonia, green steel, aluminium and other metals, could create 215,000 Australian job-years in the next five years.

Reviving Australian manufacturing is important due its special role in the economy. More than any other sector, manufacturing is a driver of innovation, productivity growth and quality jobs. Manufacturing has a 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 reminded Australia that domestic manufacturing capacity is a critical component of national resilience.

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Who would benefit?

Energy-intensive industry will benefit from access to low-cost, clean energy to support decarbonisation. Examples are aluminium smelting, hydrogen production, green steel manufacture, chemicals production, recycling and data centres.

Manufacturers of clean technologies will benefit from shared access to clean energy and infrastructure such as roads, rail and transmission and the opportunity to collaborate in clusters of like-minded businesses. New manufacturing will include wind turbines, batteries, electric vehicle chargers, electric buses and mining equipment.

Communities and workers will benefit as Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts sustain and build resilient local economies and create jobs in communities that are facing a rapidly changing world.

Advantages to Australian businesses

Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts offer a advantages to Australian businesses, such as:

  • Financial incentives such as grants and interest-free loans
  • Renewable energy at a guaranteed low price
  • Reliable power supply through a combination of local 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)
  • Locally driven industry that delivers for their communities

Precinct locations

The Hunter

The Hunter is set to become the electric motor of the Australian economy

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Hunter Renewable Energy Industrial Precinct: Briefing Paper

Read our latest report

The Hunter has more than enough potential new energy sources to power a Renewable Energy Industrial Precinct, enough for existing industry giants to decarbonise and enough to fast-track new green industries.

Our report shows the enormous scale of renewable powered industries that could be developed as part of a Hunter Renewable Energy Industrial Precinct, including the build-out of new renewable energy and electrical infrastructure over the next ten years.


Proudly made with Queensland renewable energy

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Gladstone Renewable Energy Industrial Precinct: Briefing Paper

Read our latest report

Gladstone could become a major green hydrogen hub, sustaining its manufacturing heritage. Multiple hydrogen projects are proposed. The region will need plenty more renewable energy to power existing industry giants committed to decarbonisation as well as the new green industries.

The Gladstone REIP will provide strong benefits to Gladstone’s energy-intensive businesses including aluminium smelting, hydrogen production, alumina refining, chemicals production, recycling and potentially new cleantech industries such as wind turbine blade manufacture and electrolyser manufacturing.

Beyond Zero Emissions is currently seeking expressions of interest from proponents interested in locating in two Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts.

These industrial zones have all the ingredients necessary to become renewable energy manufacturing and export superpowers, with their existing heavy industry infrastructure, export capacity, skilled workforces and close proximity to universities. They have an unmissable opportunity to create jobs, revitalise manufacturing and secure Australia’s position as a zero-emissions manufacturing nation.

While Beyond Zero Emissions is currently focusing on these two locations there are many more regions around Australia that would suit a Renewable Energy Industrial Precinct.

Who’s on board?

Some of Australia’s most exciting and innovative manufacturing and technology companies have already given support for Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts.

MolyCop is committed to further reducing the carbon emissions associated with our products and operations and Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts will help us achieve that.

Michael Parker - MolyCop

Statement of support

A Renewable Energy Industrial Precinct would be great for SwitchDin. Renewables are about community and this is building a community around innovation to create opportunity. We want to be part of that.

Dr Andrew Mears - SwitchDin

Expression of Interest

As a key part of the proposed Hunter Renewable Energy Zone, Port Stephens will play a vital role in delivering affordable energy generation to help replace the state’s existing power stations as they close over the coming decades.

Ryan Palmer - Port Stephens Council

Statement of Support

Epuron supports the development of Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts for the support they offer to developing innovative technologies and competitive advantage to manufacturing in the global zero-emissions markets.

Julian Kasby - Epuron

Statement of Support

BME see Australia's future as very bright and an integral part of this is embracing new technologies and future proofing both the economy and the natural environment. Australia becoming self reliant and investing in our people and their skills is critical to this goal.

Sarah Gow - BME

Expression of interest

Ampcontrol is at the forefront of a lot of innovative engineering. We are already working extensively in the renewable energy sector and support a Renewable Energy Industrial Precinct.

Rod Henderson - Ampcontrol

Statement of support

We applaud the efforts by BZE to work with the various government, private sector and industry stakeholders. Rinnai stands ready to offer our array of leading edge renewable products to these initiatives, providing sustainable and rewarding skilled employment to Australians.

Greg Ellis - Rinnai Australia

Statement of support

Energy Estate strongly supports the development of Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts to 'future proof' and grow Australian industries, their export potential, creating enduring workforce opportunities, training and reskilling regional areas.

Simone O'Sullivan - Energy Estate (H2N)

Expression of Interest

The undeniable shift towards a zero-emissions future is happening globally. We support giving Australian Manufacturers the resources to position themselves ready for a shift in demand, to provide emissions-free materials/product.

Arden Jarrett - MGA Thermal

Expression of interest

We believe the Renewable Energy Industrial Precinct will foster an excellent environment for collaboration among Australian companies whose mission is to make a positive impact whilst providing sustainable business solutions to Australian industry.

Steven Lawn - 3ME

Statement of support

Amtronics/Australian Hydrogen Generation are delighted to be partnered up with BZE in their Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts initiative. As an Australian provider and installer of Hydrogen generation equipment, our services are key to paving the way for a clean future

Steve Arnerich - Amtronics/Australian Hydrogen Generation

Expression of Interest

Smart Energy Council supports the development of Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts because they provide excellent opportunities for heavy industry and renewable energy resources to benefit each other.

Wayne Smith - Smart Energy Council

Statement of support

REVYRE strongly supports the Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts initiatives to bring together renewables powered manufacturing businesses, and aligns with our zero-waste, zero-emissions, zero-byproducts business model. Re-manufacturing businesses like REVYRE are a truly circular addition an already exciting renewable precinct initiative.

Luke Panchal - REVYRE

Expression of interest

We are strongly in support of Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts. We believe these are ideal vehicles to help engage and educate communities, demonstrate early success and to respond to and address the significant challenges ahead of us especially in the waste circular economy and to achieve net zero emissions targets for Australia.

Mukul Agrawal - Lohmann Group

Expression of Interest

Alpha HPA are committed to supporting the transition to decarbonisation technologies and see the imperative to ensure our production methods are as sustainable as possible. The Renewable Energy Industrial Precinct is a critical step in demonstrating how sustainable zero emission manufacturing can be achieved.

Rob Williamson - Alpha HPA

Statement of Support

Renewable energy, paired with long duration storage, can ‘repower Australian manufacturing’ with the lowest cost energy day and night. RayGen can manufacture our technology in a Renewable Energy Industrial Precinct, and use that same technology to supply the precinct with affordable, baseload power, creating and supporting local jobs.

Will Mosley - RayGen

Expression of Interest

We believe that Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts offer opportunities for sustainability, innovation, collaboration and integration between research and industry that can drive growth in advanced manufacturing, clean energy technologies and high-value, highly skilled jobs.

Barbara Albert - 100% Renewables

Statement of Support

SOLPOD is the only Australian Made manufacturing of solar panel rooftop mounting solutions. SOLPOD supports Beyond Zero Emissions' Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts.

James Larratt - SOLPOD

Statement of Support

Being able to keep our manufacturing in Australia would be huge for us as it would allow us to leverage local expertise, and help us to connect with the wider ecosystem here in Australia.

Thomas Nann - Allegro Energy

Expression of Interest

Newcastle Offshore Wind
Lohmann Group

Investor roundtable explores opportunities for Australia’s new and existing industries

Significant potential in regional Australia, shifting markets and collaboration across government and industry will pave the way for large-scale projects. Prominent industry leaders discuss change, investment in renewables and more.

View Summary

What needs to happen?

Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts have the potential to reinvigorate Australian manufacturing and fast track emissions reduction. Government investment is needed to plan and build the common user infrastructure required to accelerate this regional economic opportunity and unlock $37.8 billion in private investment.

Read our REIP Policy recommendation.
Read our 2023-24 pre-budget submission to Treasury.
Read our 2022-23 pre-budget submission to Treasury.
Read our 2021-22 pre-budget submission to Treasury.

Commission a roadmap

To make Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts a reality, Australian governments should commission a roadmap to establish these precincts, then provide streamlined planning and approval processes and coordinate land use and infrastructure planning.

Grant program

Governments can also accelerate the development of Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts with significant funding. A $2billion grant program, in collaboration with state governments, to deliver several Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts around Australia should be made available in two streams.

Manufacturing stream: financial incentives for projects enabling manufacturers to use or switch to renewable energy. This would include equipment upgrades and implementation of innovative processes, energy storage technologies and flexible demand programs.

Infrastructure stream: funding the early works of critical infrastructure required for successful precincts, such as transmission connections, hydrogen pipelines and shared industrial heat networks.

Energy supply

The precincts would depend on a large and reliable supply of renewable energy. This would be assisted by:

  • Construction of renewable energy zones and connections to precincts.
  • Plan for achieving a reliable, balanced electricity system, including some combination of energy storage, flexible demand, shared industrial heat and hydrogen production.
  • Finance models and contract arrangements suitable for both sellers and buyers of energy.
  • Progressive implementation over several years (see development principles for transitioning to 100% renewable energy for more information).

Development principles

Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts are defined by ambitious environmental performance targets laid out by the following principles:

  1. Powered on 100% renewable energy
  2. Industry commitment to sustainability
  3. Carbon use only in very specific circumstances – reasonable exemptions would be accommodated

We are accepting expressions of interest from a diversity of precinct participants:

  • Size: any size of project is encouraged to apply
  • Scale of production: projects with the capacity to rapidly upscale and employ manufacturing workers would be prioritised
  • Energy requirements: while energy use for each project must be renewable (or an ability to demonstrate a pathway towards renewables) there is no upper limit to the amount of energy needed (see transition to 100% renewable energy for more information).
  • Stage: all renewable energy industrial precincts would feature both mature production facilities as well as early stage manufacturing. We would prioritise applications from manufacturers at TRL 8 and above.

Transition to 100% renewable energy

Different criteria apply to new and existing facilities as shown in the following transition schedule:

  • New facilities: commit to 100% renewable energy (electricity plus heat) from day one
  • Existing facilities: commit to 100% renewable electricity within 5 years OR to 100% renewable energy – electricity plus heat – within 10 years

This ambitious schedule reflects the real opportunity that is available to Australian manufacturers as we harness the full potential of our abundant renewable resources. These targets are a strong statement of intent to domestic and international markets of our commitment, securing investment and opportunities.

For each applicant, Beyond Zero Emissions would draw on its strong network of industry partners, investors and government contacts to help achieve these targets and the vision of a thriving zero-emissions manufacturing sector.

UN sustainable development goals

Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts closely align with nine of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. These represent guiding principles and goals for Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts and create added benefits by attracting customers, investors and partners who value sustainability and corporate social responsibility.

Gender equality: committed to work protocols that ensure diverse opportunities for employment.

Affordable clean energy: committed to a timetable of 100% renewable energy at a low cost.

Decent work and economic growth: committed to employing local workers and content including upskilling the workforce in the highest environmental practice, waste and management processes, energy systems and manufacturing.

Industry, innovation and infrastructure: committed to advancing, testing and rolling out new energy technologies, with an emphasis on making these resources widely available to neighbouring industrial zones and their supply chains.

Sustainable cities and community: close proximity to universities and R&D and innovation hubs, training programs to ensure surrounding communities and cities reap the benefits.

Responsible consumption and production: committed to transitioning linear forms of consumption (energy, waste, recycling, economy) into circular zero-waste economies.

Climate action: committed to 100% renewable energy by 2030. Precinct infrastructure and industry would be built for future climate conditions.

Life on land: committed to the protection and restoration of local biodiversity.

Partnerships: committed to building sustainable partnerships between communities, industries and governments, both locally and globally.

How you’re supported

Governments should provide incentives for manufacturers to set up or remain in Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts. To receive these incentives, businesses would need to commit to the development principles of the Renewable Energy Industrial Precinct.

The Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts Program would be a new $2 billion grant program to deliver, in collaboration with state governments, at least five Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts around Australia. The grant fund is proposed to be split into two funding streams:

Renewable manufacturing precinct upgrade funding - $1.5 billion

This funding would be administered by state and federal governments for one precinct per participating state, backed by investors and research partners. Applicants would use these funds to help meet the Development Principle requirements of the precincts as outlined above, for example:

  • Equipment upgrades (renewable heat and electricity)
  • New business and manufacturing processes (e.g hydrogen production and material recycling)
  • Firming capacity (storage, flexible demand, technology)
  • Skilled labour programs and training
  • R&D, innovations labs and programs
  • Procurement of low-cost renewable energy by government underwriting (contracts of difference)

Infrastructure and coordination funding - $500million

This funding would be tendered for and matched by up to five state governments to support necessary R&D, planning and precinct development. This funding would also be available to pay for critical infrastructure including:

  • Transmission infrastructure
  • Hydrogen production and industrial heating network
  • Transport connectivity
  • Common resources and services (e.g waste)
  • Zero and low emissions production development programs

Other incentives

Clean, reliable, low-cost energy: Beyond Zero Emissions is encouraging renewable energy developers and utilities to support the development of the precincts by offering low-cost renewable energy supply to users within the precincts

Business grants: Grants funding would be available to businesses that create at least 30 new full-time equivalent jobs by 2025. The grants are for fixed capital investments that support a business’ aim of achieving zero-emissions production.

Loans: Interest-free loans are available to eligible businesses that invest fixed capital within a Renewable Energy Industrial Precinct.

Infrastructure provision: Governments would lead the development of the precincts, ensuring strategic land use and infrastructure planning and coordination of precinct development. Governments would support the provision of energy transport and recycling infrastructure with dedicated funding. Governments would award privileged access to investors by land allotment at competitive prices.

Fast track planning: Streamlined planning and approval processes via government agency and/or the Renewable Energy Industrial Precinct Business Concierge. This would support investors in Renewable Energy Industrial Precinct to navigate the regulatory framework and effective use of existing funding sources and investment facilitation services including:

  • Streamlined assessments
  • One stop shop for planning permits
  • Tailored zone investment

Research and development: Delivered by a Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts Taskforce (REIPT) in the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources. The Taskforce would provide public and private R&D support and training programs including:

  • Feasibility studies: activities that see development and scoping of Renewable Energy Industrial Precinct renewable energy, transmission, technological and infrastructure projects.
  • Upskilling heavy industry: subsidised training courses and paid redeployment skillshares to upskill existing industrial workers in clean energy technologies.
  • Precinct Commission: procurement of relevant policies and supervision of policy implementation; oversees streamlined planning service, award funds, advice and licences to private sector stakeholders.

Global markets

Renewable energy industrial precincts would help Australian manufacturers capitalise on rising global demand for low-emissions products.

More than 1,000 companies including huge global brands Electrolux, Sony and Tesco have set emissions reduction targets through the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). Signatories to this initiative commit to reducing not only their own emissions but those of their supply chain.

To achieve these aims many such companies audit the energy use and emissions of their suppliers. For example, global carmakers Toyota, Volkswagen, Ford and Mercedes have committed to carbon-neutral production and are already prioritising suppliers with lower emissions.

Corporate target-setting

Manufacturers cannot ignore the emission commitments of the major corporations that buy their products. Nor can they overlook the increasing pressure to reduce emissions from governments, investors and consumers. Producers of some of the most emissions-intensive products have already responded with their own ambitious targets, for example:

  • Some steelmakers, including the world’s largest ArcelorMittal, have pledged to become carbon neutral by 2050. Liberty Steel, the owner of the steelworks in Whyalla, aims to achieve this target by 2030.
  • Several aluminium producers, including Rio Tinto, Alcoa and Rusal have launched certified low-emissions products. (High-profile customers such as Apple, Bosch, Toyota and Tetra Pak have committed to using only low-emissions aluminium.)
  • The Global Cement and Concrete Association (GCCA) represents one-third of global cement and concrete production and aims to deliver carbon-neutral concrete by 2050.

Australian manufacturers

Australian manufacturers need support to keep and attract low-emissions production on Australian shores. Other countries are already providing such support. For example, the EU is helping its manufacturers to decarbonise through its Industrial Strategy, an integral part of Europe’s Green Deal, and the UK is subsidising low-carbon industrial clusters.

Australia’s extensive land and high quality renewable resources create an opportunity to produce some of the lowest cost zero-emissions electricity and hydrogen in the world. We cannot risk being outspent by other countries and waste our comparative advantage.

For media coverage of Repowering Australian Manufacturing please visit our Beyond Zero Emissions in the media page.

The Hunter

The Hunter is set to become the electric motor of the Australian economy

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Proudly made with Queensland renewable energy

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The Million Jobs Plan

Powering jobs and economic growth after the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic

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