Weld Australia pushes for prioritising local content in renewable energy transition

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Image credit: malp/stock.adobe.com

Weld Australia is urging federal and state governments to establish local content procurement policies requiring 60 per cent of all fabricated steel used in renewable energy projects to be manufactured locally by Australian welders.

This follows the recent expansion of the Federal Government’s Capacity Investment Scheme, which aims to drive approximately $10 billion worth of investment in renewables. 

The scheme was expanded in November 2023 to raise $40 billion in private investment, adding another 32 GW of capacity to the National Energy Market. 

Geoff Crittenden, CEO of Weld Australia, welcomed the expansion of the Capacity Investment Scheme and noted the significance of incorporating local and First Nations content requirements into the scheme’s tenders. 

“The Federal Government must commit to building sovereign manufacturing capability for renewable energy projects by legislating local content policy. Local content legislation must specify that 60% of all fabricated steel used in our renewable energy projects is manufactured in Australia by local welders.”

“This local content legislation must be drafted in conjunction with industry to eliminate the loopholes that so often arise in these types of policies. The Federal Government must also mandate that all wind towers are constructed, erected and inspected according to Australian Standards,” Crittenden said. 

Australian businesses have long advocated for specific, measurable local content requirements in government contracts, but tangible examples of procurement policies in line with this are yet to be seen in Australia. 

Through these mandates, local welding and manufacturing companies can be assured of the security of sufficient orders to enable them to invest in the necessary workforce, plant, and equipment to deliver high-quality, cost-effective renewable energy assets. 

“Unless industry and governments come together now to formulate a plan of attack, when the time comes to manufacture the assets needed for our clean energy transition, there will be no fabrication facilities, no skilled workforce, and no regulatory frameworks in place. There will be no sovereign manufacturing capability. Specifying local welding companies in the Federal Government’s Capacity Investment Scheme tenders is imperative,” Weld Australia said.