City of Newcastle welcomes major renewable energy initiatives

The recent announcement of two major renewable energy initiatives in the NSW Hunter will support the transition of the region from a coal mining centre to a hub for low carbon manufacturing, transport and logistics, the City of Newcastle says.

Cr Declan Clausen

Climate change and energy minister Chris Bowen last week officially declared an offshore wind development between Swansea and Port Stephens and said the government had made its first major investment agreement to deliver a $70 million hydrogen hub at Kooragang Island near the Port of Newcastle.

City of Newcastle had a long history of supporting renewable energy programs and welcomed the Commonwealth’s “significant commitments” to Newcastle’s transformation into a leading renewable energy hub, Deputy Mayor Declan Clausen said.

“We are committed to supporting our region as it transitions towards a low carbon economy ensuring future generations can continue to enjoy our city, and believe that a mix of renewables is essential to achieving this target,” Cr Declan told Government News.

Origin Energy and will work with explosives company Orica to progress the Hunter Hydrogen Hub, which the government says will aim to produce 5,500 tonnes of renewable hydrogen a year.

Most of the hydrogen will be used by Orica’s ammonia and ammonium nitrate facility, and the hub will also provide refuelling for hydrogen buses and trucks.

The project also aims to see the export of locally produced renewable hydrogen, Mr Bowen said.

“Newcastle and the Hunter Region have been industrial and economic powerhouses for decades, making the Port of Newcastle an ideal location for a renewable hydrogen hub that can support decarbonisation of heavy industry in the region and connect our renewable resources to the world,” he said.

Construction of the facility is targeted to begin in 2025 with operations expected to commence in 2026.

Offshore wind farm plan to go ahead

The hydrogen announcement came just a day after the federal government officially declared waters off the Newcastle coast as the site of Australia’s second offshore wind zone.

The declared area, which is smaller than originally planned, stretches over 1,800 km2 between Swansea and Port Stephens and could generate up to 5GW of wind energy, enough to power an estimated 4.2 million homes, Mr Bowen said.

Location of the planned offshore windfarm

The revised zone will be 20 km from the coast in the north and over 35 km from the coast in the south.

“CN has long supported the Commonwealth Government to establish an offshore wind zone off the coast of City of Newcastle, which will strongly support our transition to clean energy, while creating new jobs for workers with transferable skills from the electrical, energy, mining, manufacturing and maritime industries,” Cr Clausen said.

He said Council would continue to advocate for local workers and materials to be preferenced for the project.

Developers can submit feasibility licence applications from August 8 to 14 November 14.

It’s Australia’s second officially declared offshore wind zone, with the first announced for Victoria’s Gippsland region late last year, and will be part of the Hunter-central coast Renewable Energy Zone (REZ).

The Energy Corporation of NSW (Energyco) is currently in the early stages of planning the REZ, which it says has attracted significant commercial interest, representing almost 40 gigawatts and more than $100 billion of potential investment across solar energy, wind, large-scale batteries and pumped hydro.

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