A renewable energy industrial precinct in the Hunter could add a windfall of $11 billion revenue per year to the local economy and 34,000 ongoing jobs by 2032, a new report has found.
The analysis by economics firm ACIL Allen, and commissioned by Beyond Zero Emissions and WWF-Australia, argues the region is an ideal location for the precinct .
The precinct offers low-cost energy through 100 per cent renewable electricity to clusters of manufacturers.
It is designed to capitalise on growing global demand for zero-emissions products, strengthen employment in emissions intensive regions and commercialise Australia's world leading research and development on-shore.
The report cites the Hunter's strong track record in heavy industry and manufacturing and local skills base required to deliver large scale projects.
About half of the 34,000 jobs will be in technicians, trades, machinery operations, drivers and labourers. Administration and professional services make up the other half.
"Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts will repower Australian manufacturing and make our manufacturers competitive on the global stage," Beyond Zero Emissions chief executive Heidi Lee said.
"The precincts offer an incredible return on investment. More than any other sector, manufacturing delivers innovation, productivity growth and high-quality jobs. Manufacturing has a particularly powerful multiplier effect - the ability to create jobs indirectly - due to manufacturers' reliance on extensive supply chains.
"Renewable energy industrial precincts join the dots between the government's modern manufacturing strategy, the technology investment roadmap, the national hydrogen strategy and development of renewable energy zones."
Chief executive of Newcastle-based Molycop Michael Parker said a renewable energy industrial precinct would be a gamechanger for Australia's manufacturing industry.
"Molycop is extremely proud of being at the forefront of responsible and sustainable steelmaking and manufacturing through our support of renewable energy and commitment to building the circular economy to liberate value from waste streams."
"We know that modernising manufacturing with renewable energy is crucial to Australian industry prospering in a low emissions future."
ACIL Allen principal Guy Jakeman said the modelling revealed residents in communities surrounding the precincts would be $4,133 better off per year by 2032 if the precincts were built.
"The EU is helping its manufacturers to decarbonise through its Industrial Strategy, an integral part of Europe's Green Deal, and the UK is subsidising zero-carbon industrial clusters.
"While Australia's extensive land and high quality renewable resources mean we have the ability to produce some of the lowest cost zero emissions electricity and hydrogen in the world, we are at risk of being outspent by other countries, squandering our comparative advantage.
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