In November last year, the NSW government announced an ambitious plan that would see total spending of more than $32 billion through to 2030 on a wide range of renewable energy projects. Included amongst the scope of work are solar, wind, and pumped hydro initiatives, all with significant potential for regional jobs and investment. The ASI, along with BlueScope and a range of other stakeholders, have been invited to contribute directly to the creation of the plan that will deliver these projects, with particular emphasis on maximising local content opportunities. ASI Chief Executive Mark Cain is a member of the associated Renewable Energy Sector Board, whilst ASI is also represented on the Reference Group that has been established to provide expert advice to the Board. The Renewable Energy Sector Plan, which is expected to be finalised by December 2021, if adopted will form the basis of an action plan for the NSW Energy Minister to implement.

Speaking about his role on the Renewable Energy Sector Board, Mark Cain commented, “there is a definite tension between maximising local content and participation, whilst at the same time ensuring we aren’t open to challenge by being in breach of free trade and WTO agreements. Whilst that isn’t a new situation for government funded projects, we are forthrightly representing the interests of our members by respectfully challenging the prevailing assumptions about how to maximise local content opportunities.” As part of the mapping of local supply chain capacity and capability, ASI NSW members have been invited to participate in an independently run survey, which is intended to flesh out and substantiate the readiness of the local steel industry to participate in this plan. If you haven’t received information about the survey and would like to know more, please contact NSW/ACT State Manager, David Varcoe at davidv@steel.org.au.