Australia can capture niche battery markets

November 17, 2023

Australia can create a battery manufacturing industry targeting Australia’s grid and heavy vehicle battery markets

Australia can create a battery manufacturing industry targeting Australia’s grid and heavy vehicle battery markets, a new report from independent industry think tank Beyond Zero Emissions has found.

BZE CEO Heidi Lee said the Battery Supply Chain report finds an Australian battery manufacturing industry could create 44,000 jobs and $57 billion in GDP in 2035. The best places for Australian battery manufacturing hubs will be industrial regions such as the Hunter Valley, Latrobe Valley, Central Queensland and Kwinana in WA.

The world will require 280,000 gigawatt hours (GWh) of battery storage by the year 2050. China currently produces just 1,200 GWh a year, or three-quarters of current annual global production. For perspective, Australia’s biggest battery under construction at Waratah is 1.7GWh.

“Australia is the only country in the world which has all the minerals required to make batteries, inverters, and relevant components. With our skilled workforce, we can turn this into a niche battery market,” Ms Lee said.

“Australia could grow from a ‘dig and ship’ approach to a ‘mine and make’ nation, mining and refining lithium and other minerals, then manufacturing batteries onshore. The world demand for storage is so big that no one country can possibly fill it.

Australia provides half the world's lithium, but we capture less than 4% of the battery value.”

Recommendations in the report include:

⦁ Invest $2 billion in capital funding to establish battery cell manufacturing and non-cell technology to support a mining tto battery production supply chain.

⦁ Double the Capacity Investment Scheme, which supports investment in storage and dispatchable energy, from 6GW to 12GW by 2030 and 24GW by 2035

⦁ Replicate Australia’s rooftop solar success by including battery storage in the Small Scale Renewable Energy Scheme to make batteries cheaper for households

⦁ Attract investment in battery manufacturing with Production Tax Credits.

“Australia already makes batteries to power mining vehicles; to replace diesel generators on dairy farms; and to support the electricity grid as more renewable energy comes on line,” Ms Lee said.

“Australia’s rooftop solar and roll out of large-scale renewable energy has created the opportunity for storage to deliver low-cost energy to community and industry.

“Making batteries here in Australia can also help secure our energy independence whilst delivering clean mining and manufacturing jobs.”

CEO of Tomago-based long-duration lithium battery manufacturer Energy Renaissance, Brian Craighead, supported the call for $2 billion to be invested in boosting Australia’s battery manufacturing industry.

“We want those jobs here in our country, and for Australia to supply its own needs rather than relying on other countries,” Mr Craighead said.

“That $2 billion investment would help us build a new battery cell factory in Australia rather than buying the cells from countries such as China.”

CEO and co-founder of Hunter based, long duration flow battery manufacturer Allegro Energy, Dr Thomas Nann, said increasing the Federal Government’s investment in Australian battery manufacturing “would help us to rapidly accelerate our nation’s potential to become a leading centre for green energy storage, innovation and manufacture".

The report makes recommendations to grow Australia’s battery manufacturing industry across mining, refining, manufacturing and recycling.

The global lithium battery market is estimated to be worth $1.25 trillion a year by 2030 and $1.9 trillion by 2035.

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