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Clean energy technology hub earmarked for the Port of Newcastle.

An Australian-first clean energy technology hub with the potential to employ hundreds of people has been earmarked for the land owned by the Port of Newcastle.

The Carrington Pump house and the former waste tip site near the Tourle Street Bridge are among the locations currently under consideration for the project.

The ‘one-stop shop’, which would complement other clean energy projects in the Hunter, would feature anchor tenants, start-up and scale-up projects, as well as education and research facilities.

“There would be a broad range of energy technologies, including hydrogen. There would be the opportunity to create a demonstration and testing facility for hydrogen that doesn’t exist in this region yet,” Hunter Hydrogen Technology Cluster (NewH2) manager Clare Sykes said.

The Port of Newcastle would provide the land for the project, and rent and course fees would help generate income.

In addition to strengthening local networking opportunities, the hub would also have the ability to tap into international partners and suppliers.

Ms Sykes said the rapid development of renewable energy projects also triggered growth in the services, equipment and technologies sectors.

“But one of the barriers to the growth of the technology firms that have solutions for clean technologies is they need a clear pathway and they need to have the ability to be fast movers,” Ms Sykes said.

“When you have a place where they are able to test and demonstrate it accelerates the innovation pathway.

“Also with the ability to have anchor and industry tenants in there, it creates greater exposure for their solutions that can be providing real world solutions to industry problems.

“You have got this opportunity to accelerate the whole innovation pathway when you put all of the right players together in the right precinct.”

Related: Hunter Hydrogen Technology Cluster (NewH2) manager Clare Sykes will present the Cluster along with another 9 renewable energy projects presenting more than $12bn of procurement opportunities at the online Connecting Renewable Energy Conference NSW on October 27. Connect here for more information.

Port of Newcastle commercial manager Ashden Saege said the facility could potentially start operating by 2024.

“It’s something that could move relatively quickly depending on the infrastructure and area involved,” he said.

Leveraging the $50 million Trailblazer initiative, a research partnership between the University of Newcastle and the University of NSW, could allow the hub to get off the ground sooner.

The partnership, which is part of the Australian Trailblazer Recycling and Clean Energy Program (ATRaCE), will bring together the nation’s best recycling and clean energy researchers.

The project aims to build an ‘innovation ecosystem’ stretching between Sydney and the Hunter.

This article first appeared in the Newcastle Herald.

Hunter Hydrogen Technology Cluster (NewH2) manager Clare Sykes

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