Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts provide low-cost energy and are key to reviving Australia's manufacturing industry

Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts (REIPs) give our manufacturers a global edge while attracting business and investors, supporting industries and securing jobs in our regions.

Why Australia needs REIPs

Supporting regional jobs and growth

Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts (REIPs) are clean industry hubs that minimise the cost of renewable energy and shared manufacturing infrastructure. They do this by clustering industrial energy users together and giving them access to low-cost 100% renewable energy. This allows industry - including manufacturing - to benefit from economies of scale and efficiencies. REIPs provide more affordable power, attract new businesses and support existing ones, and foster innovation and collaboration. A REIP in an existing industrial centre will also benefit from skilled workforces and infrastructure including roads, rail freight and seaports.

Industry commitment to sustainability

Existing facilities commit to:
100% renewable electricity within 5 years OR 100% renewable energy within 10 years

New facilities commit to:
100% renewable energy (electricity plus heat) from day one

See repowering regional manufacturing in action

Low-cost, 100% renewable energy for industrial precincts

Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts minimise the cost of renewable energy and shared manufacturing infrastructure

Industries benefit from economies of scale and efficiencies. REIPs:

  • Cluster industrial energy users together to give them access to low-cost, 100% renewable energy
  • Provide cheaper power, attract new businesses and support existing ones, as well as foster innovation and collaboration
  • Can be located in existing industrial centres to benefit from skilled workforces and infrastructure including roads, rail freight and seaports

Green manufacturing can protect and grow  jobs

REIPs in Australia’s industrial and manufacturing heartlands encourage new industries and can create further opportunities for existing skilled workforces

Designed for energy-intensive businesses  

Connecting energy intensive users - such as aluminium smelting, steel and other metals processing, hydrogen production, chemical production, recycling and data centres - to low-cost renewable energy. This can create a buffer against high energy costs and fuel supply disruptions while fast tracking emissions reduction.

Attracts new manufacturers and clean technologies

The range of benefits will help secure the presence of existing manufacturers while attracting new ones. REIPs can also provide a home for companies making clean technologies such as wind turbines, batteries, electric vehicle chargers, electric buses and mining equipment.

Learn more about the companies making clean technologies on the Cleantech Showcase.

A $333 billion export opportunity

Australia has the potential to grow a new green export almost triple the value of existing fossil fuel exports

Australia can be a global leader in the production and export of green commodities

Beyond Zero Emissions research shows that Australia can grow its revenue from new green exports to $333 billion by 2050. We can meet the surging demand for zero-carbon products including green steel, renewable hydrogen and ammonia, green aluminium and critical minerals.

Launching a national Renewable Energy Industrial Precinct activation plan to establish 14 precincts across the country - in places like Gladstone, Qld, and Hunter Valley, NSW - is a key component to Australia capitalising on this opportunity. And, protects us from potential demand collapse of fossil fuel exports as the world rapidly pivots to zero emissions.

Read our report Export Powerhouse

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Further resources for Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts

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"Ampcontrol is at the forefront of a lot of innovative engineering. We are already working extensively in the renewable energy sector and support a Renewable Energy Industrial Precinct here in Gladstone."

Rod Henderson, MD & CEO

"MolyCop is committed to further reducing the carbon emissions associated with our products and operations and Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts here the Hunter will help us achieve that."

Michael Parker - Pres. Australiasia, MolyCop

"We believe that the Hunter Valley can benefit from it's strong manufacturing heritage and workforce to become a renewable energy powerhouse for export to the world."

Joss Kesby - CEO, Diffuse Energy

"MGA Thermal believes the high level of skilled labour, intrinsic knowledge, academic rigour and infrastructure make the Hunter the perfect location to export emission-free manufacturing products to the world."

Arden Jarrett - Marketing Manager, MGA Thermal

"Australia’s competitiveness and prosperity in the clean energy economy depends on the success of the Hunter. We look forward to supporting a REIP in our region and securing the Hunter’s rightful position as Australia’s clean energy capital."

Alice Thompson - CEO, Committee for the Hunter

"The Renewable Energy Industrial Precinct is critical to showing how sustainable zero emission manufacturing can be achieved. Alpha HPA are pleased to support the Renewable Energy Industrial Precinct in Gladstone."

Rob Williamson, COO, AlphaHPA

"We see our 100% renewable superhybrid projects providing firm green energy, green hydrogen and peaking power as an important part of the energy mix for a Renewable Energy Industrial Precinct in Gladstone."

Michael Myer - Chairman, Sunshine Hydro

"Smart Energy Council supports the development of Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts because they provide excellent opportunities for heavy industry and renewable energy resources to benefit each other."

Wayne Smith - External Affairs Manager, Smart Energy Council

"RayGen can manufacture our technology in a Renewable Energy Industrial Precinct, and use that same technology to supply the precinct with affordable, baseload power, creating and supporting local jobs."

Will Mosley - Chief Commercial Officer, RayGen

Repowering our regions

The benefits and structure of our approach to repowering manufacturing with renewable energy

Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts offer many advantages to Australian businesses, including:

  • Financial incentives such as grants and interest-free loans
  • Renewable energy at a guaranteed, low price
  • Reliable power supply through a combination of local storage and flexible demand
  • Streamlined planning and approval processes
  • Skilled labour and training programs tailored to the needs of the precinct
  • Critical infrastructure, including transmission, hydrogen (production and heating network), waste and transport (rail, road and port logistics)
  • Locally-driven industries that deliver for communities

Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts are defined by ambitious environmental performance targets laid out by the following principles:

  1. Powered on 100% renewable energy
  2. Industry commitment to sustainability
  3. Carbon-use only in very specific circumstances – reasonable exemptions would be accommodated

Beyond Zero Emissions is accepting expressions of interest from a diverse range of precinct participants:

  • Size: any size of project is encouraged to apply
  • Scale of production: projects with the capacity to rapidly upscale and employ manufacturing workers to be prioritised
  • Energy requirements: while energy use for each project must be renewable (or an ability to demonstrate a pathway towards renewables) there is no upper limit to the amount of energy needed
  • Stage: all renewable energy industrial precincts would feature both mature production facilities as well as early stage manufacturing. We would prioritise applications from manufacturers at TRL 8 and above.

For each applicant, Beyond Zero Emissions would draw on its strong network of industry partners, investors and government contacts to help achieve these targets and the vision of a thriving zero-emissions manufacturing sector.

Transition to 100% renewable energy

Different criteria apply to new and existing facilities as shown in the following transition schedule:

  • New facilities: commit to 100% renewable energy (electricity plus heat) from day one
  • Existing facilities: commit to 100% renewable electricity within 5 years OR to 100% renewable energy – electricity plus heat – within 10 years

This ambitious schedule reflects the real opportunity that is available to Australian manufacturers as we harness the full potential of our abundant renewable resources. These targets are a strong statement of intent to domestic and international markets of our commitment, securing investment and opportunities.

UN sustainable development goals

Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts closely align with nine of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. These represent guiding principles and goals for Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts and create added benefits by attracting customers, investors and partners who value sustainability and corporate social responsibility.

Gender equality: committed to work protocols that ensure diverse opportunities for employment.

Affordable clean energy: committed to a timetable of 100% renewable energy at a low cost.

Decent work and economic growth: committed to employing local workers and content including upskilling the workforce in the highest environmental practice, waste and management processes, energy systems and manufacturing.

Industry, innovation and infrastructure: committed to advancing, testing and rolling out new energy technologies, with an emphasis on making these resources widely available to neighbouring industrial zones and their supply chains.

Sustainable cities and community: close proximity to universities and R&D and innovation hubs, training programs to ensure surrounding communities and cities reap the benefits.

Responsible consumption and production: committed to transitioning linear forms of consumption (energy, waste, recycling, economy) into circular zero-waste economies.

Climate action: committed to 100% renewable energy by 2030. Precinct infrastructure and industry would be built for future climate conditions.

Life on land: committed to the protection and restoration of local biodiversity.

Partnerships: committed to building sustainable partnerships between communities, industries and governments, both locally and globally.

Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts would help Australian manufacturers capitalise on rising global demand for low-emissions products.

More than 1,000 companies, including huge global brands Electrolux, Sony and Tesco have set emissions reduction targets through the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). Signatories to this initiative commit to reducing not only their own emissions but those of their supply chain.

To achieve these aims many such companies audit the energy use and emissions of their suppliers. For example, global carmakers Toyota, Volkswagen, Ford and Mercedes have committed to carbon-neutral production and are already prioritising suppliers with lower emissions.

Corporate target-setting

Manufacturers cannot ignore the emission commitments of the major corporations that buy their products. Nor can they overlook the increasing pressure to reduce emissions from governments, investors and consumers. Producers of some of the most emissions-intensive products have already responded with their own ambitious targets, for example:

  • Some steelmakers, including the world’s largest, ArcelorMittal, have pledged to become carbon neutral by 2050. Liberty Steel, the owner of the steelworks in Whyalla, aims to achieve this target by 2030.
  • Several aluminium producers, including Rio Tinto, Alcoa and Rusal have launched certified low-emissions products. (High-profile customers such as Apple, Bosch, Toyota and Tetra Pak have committed to using only low-emissions aluminium.)
  • The Global Cement and Concrete Association (GCCA) represents one-third of global cement and concrete production and aims to deliver carbon-neutral concrete by 2050.
Australian manufacturers

Australian manufacturers need support to keep and attract low-emissions production on Australian shores. Other countries are already providing such support. For example, the EU is helping its manufacturers to decarbonise through its Industrial Strategy, an integral part of Europe’s Green Deal, and the UK is subsidising low-carbon industrial clusters.

Australia’s extensive land and high quality renewable resources create an opportunity to produce some of the lowest cost zero-emissions electricity and hydrogen in the world. We cannot risk being outspent by other countries and waste our comparative advantage.

Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts have the potential to reinvigorate Australian manufacturing and fast track emissions reduction. Government investment is needed to plan and build the common user infrastructure required to accelerate this regional economic opportunity and unlock $37.8 billion in private investment.

Read our REIP Policy recommendation.
Read our 2023-24 pre-budget submission to Treasury.
Read our 2022-23 pre-budget submission to Treasury.
Read our 2021-22 pre-budget submission to Treasury.

Commission a roadmap

To make Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts a reality, Australian governments should commission a roadmap to establish these precincts, then provide streamlined planning and approval processes and coordinate land use and infrastructure planning.

Grant program

Governments can also accelerate the development of Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts with significant funding. A $2billion grant program, in collaboration with state governments, to deliver several Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts around Australia should be made available in two streams.

Manufacturing stream: financial incentives for projects enabling manufacturers to use or switch to renewable energy. This would include equipment upgrades and implementation of innovative processes, energy storage technologies and flexible demand programs.

Infrastructure stream: funding the early works of critical infrastructure required for successful precincts, such as transmission connections, hydrogen pipelines and shared industrial heat networks.

Energy supply

The precincts would depend on a large and reliable supply of renewable energy. This would be assisted by:

  • Construction of renewable energy zones and connections to precincts.
  • Plan for achieving a reliable, balanced electricity system, including some combination of energy storage, flexible demand, shared industrial heat and hydrogen production.
  • Finance models and contract arrangements suitable for both sellers and buyers of energy.
  • Progressive implementation over several years (see development principles for transitioning to 100% renewable energy for more information).

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