Discussion Group – May

The Hunter: 'The electric motor of the Australian economy'

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Tue, 18 May 2021

1:00 pm - 2:00 pm AEST

For 200 years, the Hunter has been a powerhouse of Australian mining and energy exports. In fact, Australia’s first export commodity left from the Port of Newcastle as a shipment of coal bound for India in 1799. The region is also well known for manufacturing, and energy-intensive industries such as aluminium and steel.

The Hunter is now writing a new chapter in this proud history as an industrial and energy superpower.

This month we will dive into Beyond Zero Emissions’ ‘Diversifying the Hunter’ project lead by Sam Mella. Sam will share the team’s plans and progress so far in bringing to life the very first Renewable Energy Industrial Precinct.

To maintain the Hunter’s position as a global energy hub in rapidly evolving market conditions, it’s critical we change the way we export energy. That era of loading coal and gas on ships, as we did in 1799, is coming to an end. Australian renewable energy now needs to be embodied in products: steel, aluminium, mining equipment, batteries. And this opens the door for a huge boom in local manufacturing, jobs and prosperity.

Around the world companies like BHP, Apple and IKEA are all working to take emissions out of their supply chain (known as “scope three emissions”). For countries like Australia with massive renewable resources, processing our ores and rare earths onshore and powered by 100% Australian renewable energy, creates local jobs and a new export pathways.

Beyond Zero Emissions knows the Hunter can deliver a world leading zero-emissions supply chain, and we have a plan to get there through Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts.

These precincts will have flexibility and funding to support manufacturers to restructure their operations to become 100% renewable with globally competitive energy prices. Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts could transform the whole of the Hunter towards long term sustainable jobs and growth through regional infrastructure, specialised industry clusters and support for manufacturers to transition towards zero-emissions processes.

Want to know more about Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts? Visit our Repowering Manufacturing page.

Event details

Event type
Tue, 18 May 2021
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm AEST

This event has passed


Sam Mella, Beyond Zero Emissions

Sam Mella

Senior Project Manager

Sam Mella is the Senior Project Manager in the Hunter Valley and was lead author of the Hunter Case Study in the Million Jobs Plan. She has done pioneering work on renewable energy export since 2011, including project leader of the acclaimed prefeasibility study (2017) that investigated High Voltage Direct Current as a potential renewable energy export and diversification pathway for the Pilbara Region of WA. Sam is also a founder and director of Pilbara Solar Pty Ltd.

Dr Jessica Allen, Beyond Zero Emissions

Dr Jessica Allen

Senior lecturer, University of Newcastle

Jessica is a senior lecturer in Chemical Engineering at UoN and a recipient of the ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award 2021. Her research aligns closely with the Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources (NIER); and combines electrochemistry and engineering with interests spanning low emission energy technologies as well as renewable energy, carbon capture and utilisation, and energy storage (both thermal and electrochemical).

Dr Nicholas Gurieff, Beyond Zero Emissions

Dr Nicholas Gurieff

Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Newcastle

Nicholas is a multidisciplinary researcher focused on utility-scale renewable energy storage including Australian battery technologies and Power-to-X with green hydrogen. His work seeks to identify opportunities for these technologies to enable a responsible energy transition, such as secure fuel supplies and sustainable resource ecosystems for hospitals. He is a founding member of the NERA-backed Hunter Hydrogen Technology Cluster and past director of the Australian Institute of Energy.

Live recording

Recording - May Discussion Group


Dr Nicholas Gurieff's presentation slides - Power to X and Renewable Energy Ecosystems

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