The NSW government will spend $750 million to help slash the emissions of the state’s industries, investing in green hydrogen production, supporting industries to shift to low emissions manufacturing and funding new clean technology research and development.
The New Zero Industry and Innovation Program, launched on Monday by New South Wales energy minister Matt Kean, has been established as part of the state government’s commitment to reaching zero net emissions.
The funding will be provided over the next ten years and will target the state’s industrial emitters, which represent a substantial proportion of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions and who are a major consumer of fossil fuels.
“Almost 30 per cent of our State’s carbon emissions are created by our top 55 industrial facilities, which are critical contributors to the NSW economy,” Kean said.
“Supporting their move to cleaner equipment, technology and processes will significantly reduce emissions, while helping to protect jobs and maintain a resilient economy. This program will build on that to help create the jobs of the future and drive a clean industrial revolution.”
Kean has led the development of an ambitious package of clean energy and emissions reduction policies and has seen the Berejeklian government commit to a 2030 target to reduce emissions by 35 per cent.
Kean has argued that the conservative side of politics should embrace investment in clean energy industries, placing the state minister in stark contrast with his federal Liberal party colleagues, saying there are substantial opportunities to attract new modern industries and drive new investment and job creation in the state, which are a key target of the push into green industries.
Kean oversaw the development of the NSW’s government electricity infrastructure strategy, which aims to support the construction of up to 12GW of new wind and solar project over the next decade to replace the state’s ageing fleet of coal-fired generators, and he wants to use the shift to green energy to position the state as a leading global supplier of low emissions industrial products.
Funding under the latest industry decarbonisation plan will be provided through three core streams.
The research and development of new clean technology innovations will receive a $195 million boost, with the NSW government hoping to seize upon new economic and job creation opportunities being created by emerging low emissions technologies.
A further $175 million will be provided to businesses to set up new clean energy industries in the state, including the production of green hydrogen, which has emerged as a viable source of zero emissions thermal heat for use in many high-temperature manufacturing processes.
The funding will also be used to develop new opportunities to electrify industrial processes, allowing them to be run on supplies of power from wind and solar projects and opportunities to cut emissions in the land sector and primary industries.
The NSW government will also commit $380 million to fund industries to ‘re-tool’ and ‘future proof’ their operations with a shift to lower emissions technologies, building off the investments in new low emissions technologies and industries within the state.
Support will be offered to encourage the development of new green manufacturing precincts, similar to plans announced last year by steel producer BlueScope, which said it would look to establish a green manufacturing hub in Port Kembla.
Kean launched the plan at BlueScope manufacturing facilities in Wollongong on Monday, where he said that investments in new green technologies would create new jobs and support existing jobs in the state, and position heavy industries with a competitive advantage.
“NSW was one of the first jurisdictions in the world to set a net zero objective, but we must get there in a way that grows the economy, makes our businesses and industry more competitive and puts us ahead of the pack in the low carbon global economy,” Kean said.
“This $750 million program will support the development of new clean technologies, create world-leading centres of research and development and help existing industries future-proof their operations.”
WWF Australia’s Energy Transition Manager Nicky Ison said the environmental group welcomed the announcement from the NSW government, saying that Australia needed to seize the chance to use abundant renewable energy resources to transition to green industries.
“Supporting the transition of heavy industry and manufacturing to be powered by renewable heating and electricity is a critical step to enable NSW and Australia to reach a net zero emissions target,” Ison said.
“While investing in the creation of new renewable industries like hydrogen will create jobs of the future and help us achieve our potential as a renewable exporting energy superpower. WWF-Australia has been calling for investments in initiatives like Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts, which offer a way for heavy clusters of industries like steel and chemical manufacturing to access affordable renewable energy. Australia is blessed with an abundance of renewable energy resources, which can both power our domestic industries and enable new clean exports to create jobs and wealth into the future.”
Expressions of interest for funding under the program will be open from April.