On 7 April 2021, the Federal Government released the Recycling and Clean Energy National Manufacturing Priority Road Map (Road Map). The Road Map will be used by the Federal Government to inform both government and industry investment decisions over the next decade to support projects that will:
- develop products that offer green solutions;
- support domestic manufacturers to grasp the opportunity created
by the pipeline of large energy projects and changing consumer
- mobilise large-scale investment in modern manufacturing technologies.
To encourage private sector engagement with the Road Map, the Federal Government has also announced grant funding of up to A$20 million for individual projects on a co-investment basis.
1. Background to the Road Map
The Road Map sits within the Modern Manufacturing Strategy (MMS), and along with the MMS, focuses on growing domestic manufacturing activities, capabilities and specialisations in the recycling and clean energy sectors.
The Road Map also forms part of a framework of other government strategies to develop Australia's role as a value-add manufacturer and not just commodity exporter in the recycling and clean energy industries. The other strategies include:
- the National Waste Policy Action Plan;
- the Technology Investment Roadmap;
- the National Hydrogen Strategy;
- the National Food Waste Strategy; and
- the Long Term Emissions Reduction Strategy (which is currently under development).
2. Opportunities identified in the Road Map
The Road Map identifies two key opportunities for domestic manufacturing in Australia: recycling and clean energy.
This opportunity includes:
- designing products for circularity to improve the waste streams
and make the re-use of products easier;
- developing smart sorting and automation technologies;
- improving feedstock recycling to improve the mechanical
recycling of plastic products;
- improving e-waste processing technologies; and
- developing products and technologies to capture value in waste.
The Road Map identifies that Australia has a competitive edge in developing its clean energy industry as a result of Australia's strong experience in the energy and minerals industries. With respect to manufacturing, the opportunity includes:
- developing electrolysers and other hydrogen production
- manufacturing high voltage direct current transmission
technology for large transmission projects and potential
international electricity interconnections;
- developing thermal energy solutions for large industrial
- manufacturing scalable, modularised and rapidly deployable
components to improve construction and engineering logistics for
site specific renewable energy systems;
- manufacturing microgrids or similar systems like remote area
power systems to provide a global exportable product;
- manufacturing and exporting advanced inverters, converters and
electric vehicle chargers to connect DC power systems into our
AC-based power grid; and
- manufacturing and exporting next generation solar photo-voltaic modules and arrays.
To support private sector action and investment into recycling and clean energy technologies, the federal government will offer grants of between A$1 million and A$20 million to fund up to 50% of eligible project expenditure.
The availability of funding shows the emphasis the federal government is placing on strengthening Australia's clean energy and recycling manufacturing capability. Businesses should be engaging with the ideas and opportunities in the Road Map to take full advantage of the opportunities in this developing area.
4. Key takeaway
With this Road Map and other favourable policy settings that have already been announced, it is an opportune time for businesses to consider expanding and developing their role in the manufacturing sector for recycling and clean energy.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.
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