Australia can be a clean manufacturing ‘powerhouse’: Albo

Brandon How

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese says his government’s vision to turn Australia into a renewable energy superpower will help it become an advanced manufacturing powerhouse.

He has also re-emphasised the link between energy security as underpinning the country’s future economic and national security.

Lower operating costs and improved competitiveness for traditional and emerging industries would be ushered in by continued innovation and investment in low-cost renewable energy, according to the Prime Minister.

Mr Albanese delivered the keynote speech at News Corp’s Future Energy Summit in Sydney on Friday, reiterating that Australia’s wealth of critical minerals positions it well to lead the global clean energy transition.

“Our great fortune is that the building blocks of the clean energy future are right here – whether it’s lithium, cobalt, copper, rare earths or critical minerals,” the Prime Minister said.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese at the Future Energy Summit on Friday. Image: LinkedIn

“And just as our continent is blessed with an abundance of wind and sunshine, we have the minerals to build the wind turbines and the solar panels that convert them into electricity.

“My government’s vision is for Australia to be a renewable energy superpower, which will in turn help us to become an advanced manufacturing powerhouse.”

Mr Albanese said there is “continued confidence” in the energy transition as renewables now generate 30 per cent of global electricity. Clean energy investment in 2022 reached a record $2.5 trillion, an almost 15 per cent increase on 2021.

He said this was on display at the G20 meeting in India last weekend, where nations committed to accelerating support for renewable energy transition and for developing the green hydrogen market.

“The key example of the growth in clean energy investment is solar, which in 2023 is set to attract more capital than global oil production for the first time. And no one is as rich in sunshine as we are,” Mr Albanese said.

Australia is also the world’s largest producer of lithium, the third largest producer of cobalt and fourth largest producer of rare earths. The Prime Minister highlighted the importance of lithium, nickel, and cobalt to underpinning the anticipated global spike in demand for electric vehicles.

“By the end of this decade, demand for electric vehicle battery materials is expected to grow five-fold and will require the equivalent of 50 new lithium mines, 60 new nickel mines and 17 new cobalt mines, worldwide,” he said.

“By 2027-28, the export value of Australian lithium and base metals is expected to equal the combined value of thermal and metallurgical coal. Australia’s annual lithium production could be used to make 8.2 million batteries a year – equivalent to more than a third of all cars in Australia.”

Mr Albanese also highlighted the importance of the $4 billion earmarked for renewables and low emissions technologies and value-adding in resources in the  $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund (NRF). The first National Battery Strategy is also on track to be released “shortly”.

“We have already committed to invest up to $100 million in an Australian Made Battery Precinct in Queensland and $14 million in the Powering Australia Industry Growth Centre. The electric vehicle revolution is one we can power yet further with ultra-fast vehicle chargers,” he said.

“We can all take pride in the fact that the fastest electric vehicle charging stations in the world are built in Brisbane by Tritium. Tritium is a reminder that of all our natural resources, our greatest is our people.

“Those revolutionary chargers being exported all over Europe and North America are designed and built by Australians. Homegrown talent powering a global revolution. With the NRF, we can back more homegrown talent.”

The Prime Minister also highlighted green hydrogen exports as “another area of great potential”, reiterating that Australia has the world’s largest pipeline of hydrogen projects and that the government has committed more than $500 million to support hydrogen hubs and $2 billion for the incoming Hydrogen Headstart hydrogen production credit.

To close his address, Mr Albanese painted a rosy picture of the country his government believes its policies will create.

“All of this fits together into our vision of Australia going forward. An Australia that takes its rightful place as a renewable energy superpower. An Australia that manufactures things here and creates jobs here. An Australia that is able to provide a skilled workforce for companies driven by innovation,” he said.

“When we look ahead, it is with a mix of excitement and clear eyes. We see the challenges, and the opportunities they contain. Above all, we see a better future for all Australians. And that what we’re working for. That is why we’re working for Australians every day.”

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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