For many, the Illawarra's manufacturing sector is part of the problem when it comes to climate change.
Now, a new group is planning on making it part of the solution as well.
Recharge Illawarra is a group of union officials and Labor and Greens politicians looking to get the region involved in manufacturing the more environmentally friendly sources of energy needed for the future.
"It is one of the great ironies in terms of the climate change agenda that the things that have made us most exposed to the carbon issues and climate change are also the things that can actually lead us out of these areas," said South Coast Labour Council secretary Arthur Rorris.
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Mr Rorris, and co-covenors NSW Greens MLC David Shoebridge and Wollongong MP Paul Scully, were on the factory floor of Bulli's David Brown Santasalo where they make and refurbish the turbines for wind generators - a job that is growing in NSW and Australia.
Mr Shoebridge said the company served as an example of what could be achieved across the Ilawarra - with the Port Kembla steelworks at the centre.
"The Illawarra is well placed, in fact uniquely placed, to create the steel, to deliver the high-quality jobs in manufacturing and to actually deliver the change we need, not just in politics but in our economy and in our society," Mr Shoebridge said.
"Steel made locally can and should be more environmentally sustainable than steel we import from some of the big producers like India, China and even the United States."
The next steps for Recharge Illawarra, Mr Rorris said, were to lobby politicians and policy makers and also to take a deep look at the production process to see whether the Illawarra can deliver part or all of these new technologies.
"What we do know is that every single renewable technology that we're looking at here involves steel, it's steel-based," Mr Rorris said.
"And we are one of the few places in the country that can claim to have a steelmaking capacity.
"It's a natural fit."