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Industry experts to make Australia’s renewable energy revolution a reality at National Manufacturing Summit

Manufacturing News


Hosted by Weld Australia, the 2024 National Manufacturing Summit will bring together leading industry experts to discuss the practical aspects of manufacturing Australia’s renewable energy revolution. It will highlight the essential components needed to drive Australia’s transition to a sustainable future and help overcome the challenges.

The Australian Government’s commitment to reducing emissions by 43% by 2030, delivering 82% renewable electricity by 2030, and achieving net zero by 2050, as outlined in the Climate Change Act 2022, sets the stage for a transformative era in renewable energy.

According to Geoff Crittenden (CEO, Weld Australia), “The transition to renewable energy is paramount for Australia’s future. It is—by far—the biggest transformation of Australia’s energy market ever undertaken. As well as the shift from coal to firmed renewables, it will treble capacity to meet future demand, and enable a two-way flow of electricity across the grid.”

“The sheer scale of the project is enormous. With an anticipated growth in renewable energy generation from 64GW to over 218GW by 2050, the manufacturing sector is at the forefront of this change, presented with unparalleled opportunities and significant challenges,” said Crittenden. 

For example, it is expected that over 6,000 wind towers will need to be produced, each requiring upwards of 500 tonnes of plate. The annual production of plate steel in Australia is currently 400kt. To connect all this new generation to consumers, AEMO estimates that more than 10,000km of new transmission lines and 24,000 transmission towers (at 30 to 60 tonnes of steel per tower) will need to be constructed around the country.

“The Australian Government’s recent $1 billion investment in the Solar Sunshot program must be replicated in other sectors, from hydrogen through to wind tower manufacturing. The domestic demand for wind towers over coming decades is huge. Based on AEMO scenarios, the market could range from $20 billion anywhere up to $80 billion,” said Crittenden.

“A local heavy manufacturing industry, backed by government investment, would deliver speed to market and reduce Australia’s exposure to supply chain risk. Australia currently has reduced capacity in wind tower manufacturing because government contracts have long been offshored. However, major steel manufacturers such as BlueScope have expressed interest in wind tower manufacturing, as have Weld Australia’s members.” 

“Specific, enforceable local content requires and the right investment in heavy manufacturing will fortify domestic clean energy supply chains, boost investor confidence, and cultivate a skilled workforce for the energy transition, positioning Australia as a global renewable energy superpower,” said Crittenden.

2024 National Manufacturing Summit 

The theme of the 2024 National Manufacturing Summit is ‘Pathway to Success: Making the Renewable Energy Revolution a Reality’. The 2024 National Manufacturing Summit aims to bridge the gap between ambitious targets and practical implementation. The Summit will act as a catalyst for action, innovation, and collaboration, steering Australia towards a sustainable and prosperous future. It will be held in Brisbane on 31 July and 1 August. 

The ‘Australian Capability’ session is a must-attend for anyone interested in understanding the capabilities and contributions of Australian companies and institutions in the renewable energy sector. Attendees will gain valuable insights into how local expertise is shaping the future of renewable energy and learn about the collaborative efforts that are driving innovation and sustainability. Tania Archibald (Chief Executive of Australian Steel Products at BlueScope) will be joined by Vesna Vesna Olles (Director of Strategy, Clean Energy, BOC) to discuss how Australia can build a sustainable and prosperous future by leveraging the strengths and capabilities of our local industry.

The Global Outlook session will deliver insights into global trends, best practices, and innovative solutions that can be adapted to enhance Australia’s renewable energy sector. It will feature Koen De Backer (International Expert in Public Policy) and Elizabeth Thurborn (Professor of International Political Economy, University of NSW).

‘The Queensland Experience’ will be a program highlight. The Queensland Government has made significant strides in renewable energy, driven by ambitious targets and substantial investments. In 2015, Queensland established a 50% renewable energy target by 2030. In 2022, this target was increased to 70% by 2032, and 80% by 2035.

Queensland is accelerating towards its renewable energy targets and now boasts 54 large-scale renewable energy projects (operating, under construction or financially committed) since 2015. This represents more than $11 billion of investment, around 8,700 construction jobs, over 6,000 megawatts (MW) of clean energy and more than 15 million tonnes of avoided emissions each year (as at 29 February 2024). Linda Dobe (Director General, Queensland Department of Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water), Peter Ong, National President, Electrical Trades Union) and Emeritus Professor Dr Roy Green (University of Technology Sydney) will feature.

Just some of other expert speakers include:

  • Georges Antoun, Chief Commercial Officer, First Solar
  • Simon Kuestenmacher, Co-Founder, The Demographics Group
  • Jim Stanford, Economist & Director, The Australia Institute & Centre for Future Work
  • Glenn Butcher, Queensland Minister for Regional Development and Manufacturing and Minister for Water
  • Monique English, Engagement Manager, Standards Australia
  • Michelle O’Neil, National President, ACTU
  • Natalie Collard, CEO, Farmers for Climate Action
  • Michelle O’Neil, National President, ACTU
  • Geoff Crittenden, CEO, Weld Australia

For further information and to register visit:  

With thanks to our sponsors: the Australian Government’s Department of Industry Science and Resources; BlueScope; the Centre for Future Work; the Queensland Government; and Standards Australia.

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