The Hunter Innovation Festival

Activating Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts in the Hunter

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Mon, 3 May 2021

4:00 pm - 6:45 pm AEST

Repowering Australian manufacturing

The industrial heartland of the Hunter is on the verge of a transformation toward renewable energy and zero-emissions manufacturing. This reception and panel of industry leaders will focus on securing the jobs of the future in clean manufacturing by activating Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts in the Hunter.

4.00pm – Meet the Innovators Reception
Meet start-ups and established companies in renewable energy and manufacturing showcasing their point of difference. Get amongst the people creating jobs and building a zero-emissions future for the Hunter. For a full line-up head to the ticketing page.

This event will include interviews hosted by Beyond Zero Emissions, is sponsored by SwitchDin and supported by Eighteen04 and CLEANaS.

5.30pm – Industry Panel
Activating Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts

Hosted by Beyond Zero Emissions, this panel will introduce Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts and outline what needs to happen to establish a Precinct here in the Hunter. Get set for a robust discussion featuring Hunter leaders from policy, manufacturing, research, innovation, and front-line workers.

Find out more about how the Hunter is writing a new chapter as an industrial and energy superpower.

Event details

Event type
In person
Mon, 3 May 2021
4:00 pm - 6:45 pm AEST
Newcastle City Hall

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 Andrew Mears, Beyond Zero Emissions

Dr Andrew Mears

CEO and Founder, SwitchDin

Andrew is an entrepreneur and leader in clean technology and sustainable human-centred development, with more than twenty years’ experience. This has included the establishment of leading Hunter company SwitchDin, which works to solve key barriers in scaling renewable energy to drive the transformation of the electricity systems of the world.

Alice Thompson, Beyond Zero Emissions

Alice Thompson

CEO, Committee for the Hunter

Regarded as a leader in public policy, Alice has worked across all three levels of government with a focus on strategic planning, infrastructure, industry development, urban planning and regional development. Her career spans the public and private sectors including as KPMG’s National Lead for Cities and Region, and as Senior Advisor on Cities and Infrastructure to former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. Alice has championed new, place-based approaches to regional development. This includes City Deals where the Australian Government partners with state and local governments in long-term plan for jobs, investment, better transport and liveability. Alice holds a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Arts from the Australian National University, and a Master of International Law and International Relations from the University of NSW.

Boris Novak, Beyond Zero Emissions

Boris Novak

General Manager, HunterNet Cooperative Ltd

Boris has a background in communications-electronics and engineering with 25 years’ experience as a systems engineer and business leader. In HunterNet he is focused on developing economic opportunities around established and emerging industry clusters, attracting new business and enabling existing businesses to access supply chain opportunities. This includes enhancing opportunities for businesses involved in modern manufacturing. Boris is an advisor on numerous industry forums, including the new Hunter Hydrogen Taskforce.

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).

Warrick Jordan, Beyond Zero Emissions

Warrick Jordan

Coordinator, Hunter Jobs Alliance

Warrick was born and raised in Maitland, and lives in Toronto with his wife and daughter. He has a long history working on challenging resource management and regional economic change issues, working with diverse stakeholders, including in ground breaking collaborations such as the Tasmanian Forest Agreement. Most recently he was employed by the Australian Government as the Hunter Region Employment Facilitator, providing direct assistance to workers in the region. Warrick is now employed as the first Coordinator of the Hunter Jobs Alliance, a union and community environment organisation focused on the economic future of the Hunter.

Same Hunter. Same hard work. Bright new future.

Meet the innovators at the Hunter Innovation Festival

Professor Paul Dastoor at the Hunter Innovation Festival

Panel session from the Hunter Innovation Festival

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