The NSW government will draw upon the expertise of the state’s energy experts, establishing a new board of sector representatives to provide advice on the job creation and manufacturing opportunities being created by the renewable energy sector.
The first Renewable Energy Sector Board was unveiled by NSW energy minister Matt Kean on Tuesday and will be tasked with providing guidance on how to best support job creation and economic benefits being created by the state’s ambitious energy plan.
“We have bought all the key players to the table to make sure we don’t miss any opportunities to support local jobs and industry as we modernise the State’s energy infrastructure over the coming decades,” Kean said.
“My brief to the board is do not leave any stone unturned. This is a once in a generation opportunity to secure the economic and employment benefits under our Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap for our local industries, workers and consumers.”
The board will be asked to prepare advice to the NSW government on how to best support the establishment of a new manufacturing base centred around ‘green’ industries.
The board will deliver advice directly to the NSW energy minister, covering strategies for the supply of local materials and how to best ensure NSW manufacturers are able to generate a competitive advantage through the wider investment in renewable energy technologies.
The creation of the Renewable Energy Sector Board formed part of the NSW government’s Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap, which will target up to 12GW of new wind and solar capacity, and $32 billion in investment by 2030 – part of a plan to replace NSW’s ageing fleet of coal generators with renewable energy projects.
Membership of the board has been drawn from a cross-section of the state’s energy stakeholders, including unions, energy consumer advocates, large energy users and representatives of energy market participants.
The Renewable Energy Sector Board will be co-chaired by the national secretary of the Australian Workers’ Union, Daniel Walton, and the Public Interest Advocacy Centre’s Craig Memery.
“We want to make sure our local workers and industries reap the economic benefits of the transition to the cheap, reliable and renewable electricity, and we’ll be looking at ways to do this in the best interests of NSW electricity customers,” Memery said.
The other members appointed to the Renewable Energy Sector Board are:
- Mark Cain – Australian Steel Institute
- John Coyle – Varley Group
- Anna Freeman – Clean Energy Council
- Lynne Gallagher – Energy Consumers Australia
- Grahame Kelly – CFMEU
- James Hay – Energy Corporation of NSW
- Paul Italiano – TransGrid
- Justin Page – Electrical Trades Union
- Matthew Robertson – BlueScope Steel Australia
- Stacey Sleeman – Tomago Aluminium
- Rod Stowe – former NSW Fair Trading Commissioner
- Cory Wright – Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union
Co-chair of the board, Daniel Walton, added that it was crucial that the NSW government establish new policies that support the NSW workforce and the state’s businesses to use strong investment in renewable energy capacity to their advantage and create new job opportunities.
“These new policies should drive genuine accountability and replace the ‘tick and flick’ culture of procurement which has favoured overseas suppliers in recent decades,” Walton said.
“This Board will play a critical role in maximising the use of locally produced and supplied goods. This will both sustain and boost jobs for local workers and foster opportunities for apprentices and trainees in the renewable energy industry.”
The board will meet at least once every six months and will deliver its first report to minister Kean before the end of March.
The NSW government recently selected a number of the state’s universities to provide advice on emerging energy storage and green fuels, using excess supplies of wind and solar. The Power-to-X research consortium, led by UNSW’s scientia professor Rose Amal, will provide advice on how emerging technologies can help expand the state’s energy storage capabilities and the ability to use fuels derived from wind and solar in manufacturing.