The Hunter is in a two-horse race with the Illawarra to host a huge lithium ion battery factory which could employ up to 1300 people.
Energy Renaissance wants to build its "Renaissance One" plant in regional NSW, close to a university and a deep-water port, putting the Newcastle area and its former fellow steel city in play.
"Let me say it's one of the two," Energy Renaissance managing director Mark Chilcote told the Newcastle Herald on Thursday.
ER has partnered with the CSIRO, which has an energy research centre in Newcastle, and Connecticut-based Cadenza Innovation to develop the hot-climate battery technology, which is designed primarily to connect to the electricity grid and is aimed at the commercial and industrial markets.
The technology could also be adapted for special-purpose electric vehicles, including forklifts, airport transportation and buses.
Sixty per cent of its batteries would be sold overseas and the rest to domestic customers, contributing an estimated $3 billion to gross domestic product.
Mr Chilcote said a manufacturing plant operating at full capacity could be as large as 40,000 square metres, or seven football fields.
He said the "extremely energy-intensive" plant would be powered by solar, wind and its own products but "certainly not gas or coal".
ER would announce the location of the plant in three to four weeks. It could build half the staged project in NSW and the other half interstate or keep it all on one site.
The operation could produce batteries with a total capacity of up to 5.3 gigawatt hours every year.
"It will be in regional NSW. What's important to us is deep-water port for imports and exports, close to universities," Mr Chilcote said.
"And close to either a skilled workforce or potentially a re-skilled workforce.
"Obviously in Australia there's no lithium ion manufacturers, so we're going to have to re-skill, but it's not dissimilar from a lot of industries in Australia."
The company was part of an investor briefing on Wednesday run by Beyond Zero Emissions on what the climate change think tank termed a "healthy pipeline" of developments that could lay the foundation for a "renewable energy industrial precinct" in the Hunter.
Mr Chilcote said in a BZE media statement that the Hunter was an "attractive location" for the battery manufacturing industry.
"It has a highly experienced workforce and access to talent through CSIRO's Energy Centre and the University of Newcastle," he said.
"Should we decide to build our facility in the Hunter, our batteries could be exported to south-east Asia through the Port of Newcastle."
Lithium battery maker eyes off huge Hunter manufacturing plant