A REIP is the region’s best jobs and investment opportunity, capitalising on existing skills and infrastructure. Economic modelling shows it would create 34,000 new, ongoing jobs by 2032. Plus, attract new capital investment of $28 billion and generate $11 billion in revenue per annum by 2032. Not to mention significant flow-on benefits including low-cost, firmed renewables for households, transportation and support for the broader grid.
The Hunter has all of the advantages to benefit from a REIP:
There is an urgent need to support regional economies like The Hunter to prepare and build resilience as Australia's fossil fuel exports are exposed to collapsing demand from the world's pivot to a zero-emissions future. A REIP will:
The Hunter is fast becoming a centre of groundbreaking clean tech innovation - a testament to the region's culture of innovation and entrepreneurship. There's also already widespread support for a Hunter-based Renewable Energy Industry Precinct:
Economic modelling by ACIL Allen, commissioned by Beyond Zero Emissions and WWF-Australia, in 2022 shows a Hunter REIP will unlock:
existing manufacturing jobs
The Hunter's industry is characterised by smart engineering, innovation and collaboration. There are businesses delivering smart energy analytics solutions, niche wind solutions, battery manufacturing, electric vehicle retrofits, an emerging green hydrogen sector, and some of Australia’s biggest industrial-scale users of renewable energy.
The Hunter’s expertise in mining and mining equipment and defence is an existing cluster that is already rapidly innovating and deploying new technologies around these industry opportunities.
The NSW Government’s Industry Opportunity Report highlights opportunities in green hydrogen, green steel, green ammonia, green aluminium, transport and logistics and controlled environmental horticulture.
The government has also outlined its Net Zero Plan and is ready to support the establishment of new industries and upgrades of existing industries to take advantage of emerging opportunities.
The NSW Government’s Clean Manufacturing Precinct (CMP) initiative has encouraged collaboration and focused attention on low-carbon industrial ecosystems.
Local company Ampcontrol was built on providing electronic solutions for the mining sector and is now applying their advanced manufacturing capability to innovations such as standalone power systems, remote water filtration, hybrid electric boats, electric vehicles and even emergency ventilators to support NSW Health during the COVID crisis.
Local company 3ME Technology develops and manufactures batteries for mining vehicles. It collaborated with a local mining equipment specialist called BME to retrofit the Tritev, a diesel-powered 20-tonne Integrated Tool Carrier. This vehicle provides superior performance in the underground mine environment and there is an influx of demand from the industry. This battery retrofit template could be applied to other transport including zero-emissions buses, waste trucks and even ferries.
In addition, the Hunter has a strong capability in the aluminium, steel recycling, and medical technology industries. Across the Hunter, community and industry groups, businesses, researchers and state and local government agencies are working to secure new manufacturing, new markets and new ways to export energy. This includes green hydrogen, green steel, green aluminium, green minerals processing and products manufactured with 100% Australian renewable energy.
The Hunter has a large workforce and clusters of small and medium enterprises with deep experience in heavy industry. The region’s expertise in mining and mining equipment means that Hunter workers and enterprises are adept at meeting the exacting quality and safety standards required in the mining industry. There is also expertise in steel, aluminium and advanced manufacturing.
The Hunter has top research and development capability. CSIRO Energy Centre and the Newcastle Institute of Energy and Resources at the University of Newcastle have a strong track record of industry engagement. The University of Newcastle is consistently ranks among the best research universities in the world. The University’s I2N network helps launch research into commercial opportunities, with recent star projects Diffuse Energy and MGA Thermal. There are 14 TAFE campuses located across the Hunter able to deliver technical and vocational training across a variety of sectors.
The Hunter REZ has an excellent existing transmission infrastructure that can enable access to local renewable generation.
New transmission infrastructure is planned to connect to the Central West Orana REZ (3 GW) and the New England REZ (8 GW).