A new report from Beyond Zero Emissions, an internationally recognised climate change think tank, has highlighted that strong emissions reduction targets set by the Victorian Government would provide stability and certainty to manufacturers and support the shift away from expensive fossil fuel power.

The Electrifying the Manufacturing State report reveals that a shift to renewable power would be very achievable for Victoria’s manufacturers if backed by an emissions reduction target.

Beyond Zero Emissions CEO, Vanessa Petrie, said that the technology that the sector needs to make the transition to renewable-powered electrification is already readily available, but needs a state policy green light to make it accessible to Victorian industry.

“The technology Victorian manufacturers need to move to zero carbon emissions is already here. Tools such as industrial heat pumps, electrical magnetic heating and electric arc heating are already making huge inroads into reducing manufacturing emissions in countries such as Japan, the United States, Sweden and the Netherlands,” Ms Petrie said.

“We need the State Government to provide the policy framework to make them readily available and price competitive on the domestic market.”

The report has been welcomed by the manufacturing sector, who said that escalating fossil fuel prices are squeezing the industry and forcing a decline in manufacturing hubs such South Dandenong.

Report policy recommendations

The Victorian Government can attract investment in zero carbon manufacturing by:

  • Setting targets to keep warming under 1.5 degrees to send a strong signal that Victoria is a climate leader that welcomes clean, renewable industries
  • Developing an industrial strategy that stimulates growth in Victorian low carbon manufacturing and rapidly reduces industrial emissions to zero
  • Setting sustainable procurement standards and targets to support emissions targets with the considerable spending power of the government
  • Investing in research and commercialisation through financial incentives, with the aim of establishing Victoria as a global leader

South East Melbourne Manufacturers Alliance CEO, Vonda Fenwick, said that manufacturers are already working to bring down their emissions.

“We are committed to helping manufacturers reduce their emissions, and have been connecting manufacturers with renewables suppliers,” Ms Fenwick said

“We’ve already seen manufacturers reducing their emissions, as seen in the wide-spread  adoption of solar energy systems by the Melbourne industry. Victorian manufacturing is dynamic and adaptive. Businesses across the state are adopting renewables and making energy efficiency gains, which brings down power bills and reduces emissions.”

Ms Petrie said that Victoria has the opportunity to become a global manufacturing leader by setting the pace on emissions reduction.

“The global business community is already propelling the shift towards zero-emissions – and the places where the shift is taking place the fastest is in jurisdictions with strong climate policy,” Ms Petrie said. 

“Almost half the world’s gross domestic product (GDP) is generated in places where governments have set or proposed a net zero emissions target.

“State and industry working together can bypass our Federal Government’s failure to develop a plan to tackle climate change. Victorian manufacturers need the Premier to show the leadership we know he’s capable of and set an emissions reduction target that helps to lower power prices, save jobs and propel the state’s manufacturing sector to new heights.”

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