Oakajee steel mill in Western Australia must be powered by renewables.

Reports this week that the Chinese steelmaker, Ansteel, may build WA's first steel mill at the Oakajee industrial park outside Geraldton have been welcomed by the Western Australian Sustainable Energy Association Inc. (WA SEA).

The mid-west of Western Australia has a wealth of renewable energy resources and the WA Government must act to ensure projects such as the steel mill at Oakajee can reap the renewable energy from where it is found, according to Australia's largest state-based green business body.

'The Barnett Government was move to support its stated support for 20% renewable energy target with actions to provide certainty to investors, and ensure the rapid growth of sustainable energy sources in the mid-west to feed projects such as this,' says Prof Ray Wills, WA SEA Chief Executive.

The planned feasibility study between Ansteel and the Department of State Development must prioritise development of renewable energy to power the mill and to ensure the sustainability of the project and to avoid carbon emissions.

Ansteel's newest steel plant at Yinkou was the greenest in China sourcing a large proportion of the energy required by that mill from combined cycle gas turbines and wind power.

'We should ensure that an Australian steel mill is greener than Ansteel's most recent Chinese mill,' says Prof Wills.

'The Federal Government has proposed in the May 2009 Budget up to $1.3 billion in funding for four solar thermal projects - Premier Colin Barnett should position Western Australia to bid for two of these as industrial scale projects, one for the mid-west to feed Oakajee and another for the Pilbara to sustainably power Australia's most important resource region,' says Prof Wills.

Editors notes:
1. The Western Australian Sustainable Energy Association Inc. (WA SEA) is a chamber of businesses boasting a growing membership of 250 industry members from a diversity of businesses, and now the largest state-based industry body of its kind in Australia. www.wasea.com.au.

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