NSW pumps $275m into clean energy manufacturing

The New South Wales government will make $275 million in clean energy manufacturing grants available to local businesses in a bid to grow the state’s renewable energy supply chain.

Solar cells, electrolysers and battery prototypes are among the projects that will be considered for funding under the Net Zero Manufacturing Initiative, which opened for applications on Monday.

Matched grants of up to $50 million will be available under the largest of the five funding streams for commercially viable renewable manufacturing projects that could involve building new facilities.

Smaller grants are also on the table for the research, development and commercialisation of new low emissions technologies that will help NSW reach net zero by 2050.

“These grants will bolster local manufacturing in the renewables and clean-technology industries, ultimately delivering more local, secure jobs,” NSW Premier Chris Minns said announcing the grants.

“This is all about supporting and backing NSW businesses, manufacturers and innovators to develop home-grown technology and products right here in the state…”

NSW Premier Chris Minns with Domestic Manufacturing minister Courtney Houssos and Cicada Innovations chief executive Sally-Ann Williams. Image: LinkedIn/Cicada Innovations

Of the $275 million on offer, more than half ($150 million) is for projects that focus on manufacturing components for the generation, storage and transmission of renewable energy.

Projects in this category will focus on technologies with a commercial readiness index score of between three and six, meaning they are lab-proven and ready to be scaled up.

The government will also make $100 million available for businesses to manufacture low carbon products, such as biofuels, with all but $5 million of this going towards construction-ready projects.

A further $25 million is available to help businesses get scalable low-emission technologies, such as next-generation batteries market-ready through research, development and commercialisation.

The maximum funding available for Renewable Manufacturing, Low Carbon Product Manufacturing and Clean Technology Innovation streams is $50 million, $20 million and $5 million, respectively.

The investment areas were identified through the NSW Decarbonisation Innovation 2023 Study conducted by the Office of the NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer, to build on other investment vehicles like the federal government’s  National Reconstruction Fund.

The grants will also support NSW’s five Renewable Energy Zones, located in and around Newcastle, Wollongong, Armidale, Dubbo and Hay, and the state’s hydrogen hubs.

NSW Climate Change and Energy minister Penny Sharpe said that the ongoing transformation of the energy grid represented an “incredible opportunity for small, medium and large businesses”.

“These grants are all about ensuring NSW manufacturing is part of this revolution,” she said alongside Premier Minns on Monday.

“They will lead to new secure, long-term jobs that are good for the planet but also build wealth in local communicates and give NSW security and sovereignty of the renewable energy supply chain.”

The Net Zero Manufacturing Initiative is part of a wider push by the state government to rebuild manufacturing to alleviate supply chain constraints and create local jobs.

Last week, Domestic Manufacturing and Government Procurement minister Courtney Houssos held talks with ten manufacturers to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the sector.

Among the topics of conversation was government using its procurement spend to promote local manufacturing, as it has previously pledged to do through a newly created portfolio.

“For every one job in manufacturing, three-and-a-half other jobs are sustained in the supply chain. We want those secure, well-paid manufacturing jobs to be in NSW,” Ms Houssos said on Monday.

Grants through the Clean Technology Innovation and Low Carbon Product Manufacturing streams will start to flow from July, with the Renewable Manufacturing stream to follow from November.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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