Albanese government unveils ‘Future Made in Australia Bill 2024’ with eyes to bolster solar

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The Bill will identify sectors that will be key to the net zero transformation. Image: Mytilineos.

On Wednesday (3 July), the Australian federal government introduced the new ‘Future Made in Australia Bill 2024’ to parliament to unlock private sector investment to bolster renewable energy technologies such as solar.

The federal government, led by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, said the legislation will ensure Australia “makes the most of the major economic and industrial opportunities of the energy transition”.

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The National Interest Framework is central to the legislation. It defines criteria for identifying sectors that will be key to the net zero transformation and where Australia could have a “comparative advantage”. With the country’s solar sector going from strength to strength, this framework will be integral in supporting the technology.

Another key aspect of the legislation is the backing it could bring to domestic manufacturing. Announcing the package in Parliament, Dr Jim Chalmers, the treasurer of Australia, said: “On refining and processing critical minerals, producing renewable hydrogen, exploring the production of green metals and low-carbon liquid fuels, and supporting targeted manufacturing of clean energy technologies, including solar, and value-adding in the battery supply chain.”

This will be supported through the ‘Future Made in Australia Innovation Fund’, also revealed as part of the package.

The Bill also empowers the government to direct the Treasury to undertake independent assessments. These assessments will be tabled in Parliament to support transparency and decision-making and help deliver value for money.

Australian solar industry handed a boost

The Australian federal government is also bolstering domestic solar manufacturing through the ‘Solar Sunshot Program’, which launched in March 2024. Sunshot primarily focuses on how components are made, whereas the newly launched Challenge focuses on deployment. As such, the two initiatives aim to bolster Australia’s efforts to become a hub for solar innovation and development.

Recebntly, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) launched its global AUS$100 million (US$66 million) ‘Solar ScaleUp Challenge’ aiming to stimulate innovation and collaboration in the solar sector. The initiative invites professionals from across the international solar landscape, such as financiers, solar customers, engineers, and developers, to break down barriers to installing, operating, and maintaining solar PV projects.

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