The future of Australia’s heavy industries is electric, according to a new research report released by think tank Beyond Zero Emissions.
The Electrifying Industry report shows how Australian companies can transition their energy-intensive activities to renewably produced, cost effective electricity.
“Australian manufacturers’ are fighting a doubling of costs in gas and electricity bills by doing business as usual,” BZE’s CEO Vanessa Petrie said.
“Cheap energy costs in the past have created a sector which uses more energy dollar of output than any other developed country.
“By electrifying industrial heat, supported by renewable technology, Australian manufactures can reclaim control of their energy costs and enjoy the benefits of falling renewable energy costs for years to come.”
The report shows the technical capacity for production of low-emissions glass, paper, aluminum, steel, pre-prepared meals, milk powder, ammonia, bricks, plastic and beer.
Head of Research and lead author of the report, Michael Lord, says there is a missed opportunity for thousands of businesses across Australia.
“We found many manufacturers could save money today simply by replacing their gas-fired boilers with industrial heat pumps. It’s just not widely taken up yet.”
Mr Lord said there a role for government to play in supporting business with incentives which assisted them to invest in efficiency electrical technologies.
“Some companies would struggle are struggling to make the capital investment needed to switch to electricity, so there is could be a role for government to provide some support,” he said.
“We’d see this as part of a broader industrial policy which would help Australian manufacturers capitalise on the zero-carbon opportunity.”
Ms Petrie said many companies are already making commitments to be 100% renewable in terms of their energy use.
“As the world transitions away from fossil fuels, we will see most all industrial processes becoming emissions free. Our report shows it’s possible now.”