Australia’s shock potential to capture world’s battery-making markets

Experts say Australia could make an electrifying charge towards seizing the world's battery-making monopoly.

Paul Eyers
By Paul Eyers
4 Min Read

Australia could make an electrifying charge towards seizing the world’s battery-making monopoly.

Manufacturing experts believe the nation sits on the cusp of a $57 billion battery boom, just missing the initial funding to spark the power storage revolution.

The Battery Supply Chain report by the Independent Industry think tank Beyond Zero Emissions has found Australia has everything needed to create a large battery manufacturing industry.

The sector could power an additional 44,000 jobs and add $57 billion in GDP by 2035, with the Hunter Valley, Latrobe Valley, Central Queensland and WA’s Kwinana region earmarked to become battery-making hubs.

Beyond Zero Emissions CEO Heidi Lee says Australia’s unique make-up of battery-building minerals gave it the potential to one day rival China for global battery manufacturing dominance.

“Australia is the only country in the world which has all the minerals required to make batteries, inverters, and relevant components. With our skilled workforce, we can turn this into a niche battery market,” she said.

“Making batteries here in Australia can also help secure our energy independence whilst delivering clean mining and manufacturing jobs.”

Australian minerals are integral to Chinese battery manufacturing, helping China produce 75 per cent of the world’s power storage products.

But with the world set to require 280,000 gigawatt hours of battery storage by 2050, Australia can help meet that demand.

“Australia could grow from a ‘dig and ship’ approach to a ‘mine and make’ nation, mining and refining lithium and other minerals, then manufacturing batteries onshore,” Ms Lee said.

“The world demand for storage is so big that no one country can possibly fill it. Australia provides half the world’s lithium, but we capture less than 4% of the battery value.”

The calls for additional investment are supported by Australia’s few existing battery manufacturers, with Energy Renaissance CEO Brian Craighead saying the funding would help bring Australia closer to energy independence.

“We want those jobs here in our country and for Australia to supply its own needs rather than relying on other countries,” Mr Craighead said.

“That $2 billion investment would help us build a new battery cell factory in Australia rather than buying the cells from countries such as China.”

Meanwhile, co-founder of Allegro Energy, Dr Thomas Nann, says increasing the Federal Government’s investment in Australian battery manufacturing would help Australia benefit from a global market estimated to be worth nearly $2 trillion a year by 2035.

“(Investment) would help us to rapidly accelerate our nation’s potential to become a leading centre for green energy storage, innovation and manufacture”.

The Beyond Zero Emissions report says a capital funding investment of $2 billion by the Federal Government could establish a mining-to-battery production chain, giving Australia the capacity to fast-charge a massive battery cell and non-cell technology industry.

Ms Lee’s says a growing Australian battery industry could springboard off the nation’s rooftop solar success, with solar-panelled households having the capacity to produce and store excess power.

“Australia’s rooftop solar and roll out of large-scale renewable energy has created the opportunity for storage to deliver low-cost energy to community and industry.

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Paul Eyers has worked as a journalist for a range of media publishers including News Corp and Network Ten. He has also worked outside of Australia, including time spent with ABS-CBN in the Philippines. Stepping away from the media, Paul spent five years sharpening his tools in construction - building his skill set and expertise within the trade industry. His diverse experiences and unique journey have equipped him with an insider view of Australia’s construction game to dig deep into the big stories.