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A towering energy transition issue: “are we outsourcing this vital work to China?”

Manufacturing News

The welding industry’s peak body has asked for a “clear and immediate public response” from the federal government on where and when wind and electricity transmission towers will be manufactured.

In a statement on Monday, Weld Australia said that the foundational infrastructure enabling the energy transition was being overlooked, and sought confirmation on where the required towers would be built, asking: “are we outsourcing this vital work to China?”

CEO Geoff Crittenden said that after two years of lobbying and queries, the Australian government had only given “vague promises and unspecified funding allocations” on the required work.

Weld Australia commended measures in the recent federal budget – including an expansion of the Capacity Investment Scheme unlocking “over $65 billion worth of investment in renewables by 2030” and the Future Made in Australia Innovation Fund – but said  investments were earmarked for solar, batteries and hydrogen projects, and over 6,000 wind towers would be needed nation-wide.

“All these renewable energy technologies are long-term solutions that will come to fruition in 10 to 20 years’ time. We need a much more immediate solution. We need wind towers erected now. The Australian Government must stop prevaricating,” said Crittenden.

“The sheer scale of wind and transmission tower manufacturing in Australia will require significant investment in plant and equipment. This investment is not only about building infrastructure but also about creating jobs and ensuring the long-term sustainability of our manufacturing sector,” said Crittenden.

According to Crittenden’s group, it must be known if tower manufacturing will be undertaken in Australia, the concrete steps and timelines for this, and who will be responsible for making these decisions.

Picture credit: Weld Australia

Further reading

Australian governments must respond to US IRA, attract investment needed for energy shift: Weld Australia

Renewable energy plans “will simply not be a reality” without industry and skills support: Weld Australia

“Extraordinary” action needed for Australia to avoid severe skills shortfall: Weld Australia

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