The Morrison Government’s announcement today that it will co-fund a $3 million feasibility study for a green hydrogen hub in Newcastle is a welcome first step, but more needs to be done to cash in on a $11 billion export industry bonanza, said new energy think tank Beyond Zero Emissions.
Beyond Zero Emissions Hunter Project Manager Sam Mella said: “Our modelling shows that a Hunter Renewable Energy Industrial Precinct would generate $11 billion a year in revenue by 2032, create 34,000 new jobs, and attract $28 billion in capital. Across Australia, Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts could grow a new green export market worth $333 billion a year by 2050 – almost triple the value of our current fossil fuel exports.
“The Hunter is facing a major structural change and a Renewable Energy Industrial Precinct will ensure we have a diverse range of industries in our region. Green hydrogen is key to unlocking this potential, acting as an industrial feedstock and providing grid flexibility.
“A Hunter Renewable Energy Industrial Precinct will build on the region’s existing mining, energy, and manufacturing expertise and support the emergence of future-focused industries such as battery manufacture, green chemicals and green steel and aluminium.
“Support for Australia’s manufacturing sector also needs to address renewables and transmissions networks to power the green hydrogen facilities and the manufacture of electrolysers to produce hydrogen. We already have local capacity to manufacture electrolysers.
“Newcastle and the Hunter region have a great future if we continue to build on its industrial strengths. It really is a case of back to the future here.
“Newcastle was built on energy and steel, and we also have a world-leading university and excellent research capability. Newcastle has the infrastructure, the port, the grid to plug in renewables, and a highly trained workforce.
“We can become a major steelmaker again, making it with renewable energy and meeting the increasing international demand for low emission products. Molycop is leading the way, making steel products with 75 per cent less carbon intensity. And we can make so much more. Homegrown heroes Ampcontrol, BME and 3ME Technology are creating and building the next generation of mining and defence electric vehicles. Local industry networks such as Hunternet support this collaboration culture, bringing together manufacturers and suppliers to enhance the Hunter’s competitive edge.
“We can supercharge this development if we bring together industry, infrastructure and renewable power in Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts.”