Australian steelmaker BlueScope has announced a plan to invest $20 million to help deliver renewable energy infrastructure in New South Wales.
- BlueScope Steel says it’s aiming to help deliver a renewable infrastructure supply chain in NSW
- It says the plan will generate local jobs and help stimulate the economy as the state transitions away from coal-fired power
- Last week the NSW Government announced its $32 billion renewable energy plan
It will underpin the State Government’s recently announced 20-year strategy to transition away from coal-fired power to hydro, wind and solar.
BlueScope’s managing director and chief executive officer, Mark Vassella, said the company would establish a new zone at its Port Kembla facility in the Illawarra to help kickstart a supply chain for the state.
“We will invest directly in our own plant, but also partner with innovators and entrepreneurs to develop new technology solutions in key industries like renewables, infrastructure, defence, manufacturing and sustainable buildings,” he said.
“Half of the $20 million incentive will be on offer to companies who want to build manufacturing capability in NSW, especially in the fast-growing renewable energy sector.
Boost to local jobs
Most of Australia’s renewable infrastructure is manufactured offshore and imported.
Mr Vassella said BlueScope’s investment aimed to generate local jobs and would help to stimulate the state’s economy.
“An immediate focus will be supporting the manufacture of wind tower, solar farm, pumped hydro, electricity transmission facilities,” he said.
“There is large and growing demand for all these equipment types, which in NSW are currently imported as prefabricated finished goods.”
During a tour of Bluescope’s Port Kembla plant on Monday NSW Energy and Environment Minister Matt Kean said the plan would help the state become a “renewable energy superpower.”
“We’re going to need over 6,500 tonnes of steel to power our transition to a new, clean, renewable energy plan for NSW,” he said.
Mr Kean said the State Government was committed to establishing benchmarks of local content used in building NSW’s future energy grid.
“That’s why we’re building a task force that will combine unions with industry, with local manufacturers, to make sure we get the rules in place to make sure that we drive local content requirements, and local jobs,” he said.
‘A big opportunity’
The Clean Energy Council’s director of energy generation, Anna Freeman, praised the move.
“This money is really helpful for building local capability,” she said.
“There’s a big opportunity, I think, for us to be supplying – for starters – the steel for wind turbines.
“I think this is a really exciting announcement today to start preparing the local supply chains in order to capture that opportunity.”