The Hunter is well on the way to becoming a clean energy superpower.
The series, which can be viewed at Energyhunter.com.au or Newcastleherald.com.au has showcased industry leaders, including MGA Thermal, Janus Electric, Energy Renaissance, SwitchDin, Ampcontrol, 3ME Technology, Milltech Martin Bright, Port of Newcastle and the Newcastle Institute for Energy Research.
"What we have seen through the Hunter Energy Evolution series is that clean energy innovation and manufacturing is not something that's far off in the future, it's happening right now and the Hunter is leading the way," Beyond Zero Emissions Hunter engagement lead Sam Mella said.
What is needed now is a national framework to enable and accelerate energy evolution; a framework that will coordinate and prioritise investment in enabling infrastructure such as energy networks to bring on renewable energy and the skills needed to deliver on the ground.
Beyond Zero Emissions believes the best way to achieve this is through the establishment of a Hunter Renewable Energy Industrial Precinct - a cluster of industries powered by affordable 100 per cent renewable energy (including for heating requirements). This framework will minimise the cost of shared infrastructure and encourages economies of scale and efficiencies.
A 2022 economic analysis found the project could attract $28 billion in private investment, support 34,000 new jobs and earn $11 billion annually.
Ms Mella said the region's clean manufacturing transition could benefit from adopting a similar common user infrastructure approach, similar to what the Hunter's coal industry had pioneered through the Hunter Valley Coal Chain.
"What we're seeing in the Hunter is bits and pieces of (the clean energy manufacturing transition) happening across the region," she said.
"The Port of Newcastle's (Clean Energy Hub) project has a common user infrastructure that can enable a number of companies to benefit from the electrolyser that they're going to put in. That's the sort of thing that we need more of."
She said the Federal Government's recently announced Net Zero Authority could also play a key role in the region's clean energy transition.
"We need to bring all of the different sectors together, like land use planning and skills training, in a coordinated way to ensure the region can achieve net zero emissions by 2032," she said.
"That will enable our manufacturers to create a 'zero emissions brand Hunter' that will bring enormous benefits to our region."
READ MORE ABOUT THE ENERGY EVOLUTION SERIES:
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