BlueScope has thrown its support behind offshore wind as a way to decarbonise steel production and support local jobs.
BlueScope has lodged a submission in favour of the proposed offshore wind zone for the Illawarra.
In its submission, BlueScope notes that it will need huge amounts of renewable energy to meet its greenhouse gas emissions intensity reduction targets and the company's goal of net zero by 2050.
The company is undertaking a study to determine the pathway to 'green steel' and estimates that any method of low or zero carbon steel production will need many more gigawatts than the steelworks currently uses.
Producing green steel solely from electricity would require fifteen times the current electricity requirements of BlueScope - according to the submission - and the company notes the existing Illawarra transmission network does not have the capacity to supply this demand.
In its sustainability report released in September, BlueScope noted that the alternative to a large, local source of renewable energy such as offshore wind would require the construction of hundreds of kilometres of high voltage transmission lines running over the Illawarra Escarpment.
The BlueScope submission also notes the potential for offshore wind turbine construction to create a new domestic industry - an offshore wind tower manufacturing supply chain.
Currently, the vast majority of wind turbine towers and their components are shipped in from overseas but BlueScope argues that through policies supporting local manufacturing a significant proportion of the offshore wind towers could be made locally.
This would be particularly the case in the floating foundations or bases, which would require 4000 tonnes of steel per tower. On current estimations, the Illawarra offshore zone would require approximately 1.12 million tonnes of steel for the foundations alone.
Each year, BlueScope produces just over three million tonnes of crude steel.
Achieving this would require supportive State procurement and local content policies, the submission argues.
"We support the development of an offshore renewable energy area in the Illawarra that has the potential to supply significant quantities of renewable energy to help underpin the decarbonisation of iron and steelmaking in Australia, as well as encourage investment and job creation through the building of a domestic renewable energy component supply chain," BlueScope chief executive Australian Steel Products Tania Archibald said.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.