Analysis and Commentary

No mention of industry in Australia’s biggest ever tender for renewable power

Analysis and Commentary

By Peter Roberts

The federal government has accelerated the roll out of renewable power generation and storage with the country’s biggest ever tender.

But despite Canberra’s plans for a Future Made in Australia, there was no mention of a role for local industry in the announcement made this morning.

The Federal and NSW climate change ministers announced that the first auction as part of the Reliable Renewables Plan was set for late May and will target 6 GW of new variable renewable energy projects for the National Electricity Market (NEM).

Matching the national Capacity Investment Scheme (CIS) tender, which delivers at least 2.2 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy for NSW, are an already announced tender in Western Australia for 500MW of dispatchable storage and just announced additional 300MW for variable renewable energy for South Australia.

The Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen said the tenders were for the cheapest, cleanest form of power – reliable renewable energy.

​Bowen said: “The rain doesn’t always fall, but we always have water on tap because we store it for when we need it – our energy plan does just the same thing for reliable renewables.

“Our plan is delivering the certainty and confidence the market needs to deliver the energy we need, when we need it.”

However nowhere in his statement made with NSW Minister for Climate Change and Energy Penny Sharpe was there a mention of any role for local industry.

Surely, every big government programme could include some sort of plan for local industry, especially when billions have been allocated by Canberra for the manufacture of solar PV and wind turbines.

There is only one small manufacturer of solar panels in Australia, Tindo Solar and two manufacturers of wind towers – Keppel Prince in Victoria (pictured) and Crisp Bros and Hayward in Tasmania.

However Keppel Prince’s Portland, Victoria facility finished its last tower work in 2020 according to the company website while Crisp Bros can only mention ‘past projects’ which delivered 300 wind towers.

Glimmers of hope, perhaps, are the potential for announcements in the upcoming federal budget, and the hope that Canberra is working together with the states on some sort of coordinated national approach.

Or it could be that different arms of government are moving to to their own tunes without the benefit of some overall conductor.

Meanwhile, the market will respond as it will to the government’s tenders without any apparent upfront requirement to even consider local sourcing.

Situation normal.

Further reading:
A Future Made in Australia – Anthony Albanese in his own words

Picture: Keppel Prince

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