Renewables superpower blueprint promises tens of thousands of green jobs

Image: Chepstowe Wind Farm

Some 60,000 jobs in solar panel manufacturing and $82 billion in turbine tower production by 2050 are in the wind if Australia becomes a clean energy superpower.

Manufacturing will also get a shot in the arm from port-side construction plants, high-voltage cable needs and electric truck production under a blueprint to be released on Wednesday.

“Becoming a renewable energy superpower will also deliver more affordable energy prices to families and businesses struggling to make ends meet with high energy costs,” union boss Steven Murphy said.

But Australia must develop a new workforce, a comprehensive industry policy and use local content, according to the report commissioned by the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, Climate Action Network Australia and the UTS Institute for Sustainable Futures.

Critical mineral refining and green hydrogen are identified by the report as “keystones”, as they can unlock other opportunities.

Other major economies are making massive investments in sovereign capabilities, and Australia is being left behind, the report warns.

“An Australian equivalent of the US Inflation Reduction Act level of funding is essential if Australia is to fulfil its aspirations to be a renewable energy superpower,” the report said.

Co-author Chris Briggs said a fund must be established that can use targeted investment, grants and incentives such as production credits to help local companies become internationally competitive exporters.

He urged state and territory governments to use local content laws and government procurement to support new businesses.

“To build Australia as an energy superpower, we also need to prepare our state vocational education centres, universities, and businesses to train and develop the renewable energy workforce of the future,” he said.

Federal Jobs and Skills Minister Brendan O’Connor will launch the report, Towards a Renewable Energy Superpower, at a TAFE in Melbourne’s Docklands.

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