The Hunter region in New South Wales is ready to leverage its global freight and transport infrastructure to capitalise on growing international interests in energy according to Investment NSW Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner to Japan, Mike Newman.
This development follows interest from business and research leaders which would suggest there is a growing view internationally that the region is establishing itself as a global gateway to new industries and resources.
On 31 January 2022 Newman reached out to Business Hunter, formerly the Hunter Business Chamber, and Hunternet, a network of specialist companies based in the Hunter and Central Coast Regions of NSW, to plan a visit by the Ambassador, His Excellency Shingo Yamagami, the Japanese Consul General in Sydney, Kiya Masahiko, and key Japanese government and business delegates including from the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) and Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC).
“Significant interest exists in how the Hunter region is making its move to scaled renewables and clean energy like hydrogen as a baseload alternative to coal,” said Newman.
“Japan is very interested in the journey the Hunter is on to support a transition to a clean energy economy.”
Business Hunter CEO, Bob Hawes, said that businesses in the Hunter were proving themselves as adaptable and strategic, recognising that a balanced transition to new energies over the next thirty years posed more opportunities for investment and jobs growth.
“The Hunter is aligning itself as a key strategic energy investment centre for markets like Japan to take up our Hydrogen and other clean energy products,” said Hawes.
“Given they currently take up 40 per cent of the Hunter’s global coal exports, this is a significant relationship to bring along on an energy transition.
“We’ve also had the opportunity to show the global trade, investment and tourism market our strong pipeline of international gateway infrastructure expansions that will support a considerable uptick in freight and export capacity – particularly from our growing airport and Port.
“The Japanese Ambassador’s visit is a clear signal that our on-shore government understands our region’s strong potential in off-shore markets, and that’s a positive signal for businesses looking to identify their own industrial growth into new energy or other international trade opportunities.”
Hunternet CEO, Ivan Waterfield, said that the Hunter’s infrastructure, technology and sovereign manufacturing abilities were clear advantages for showcasing its capability.
“We have a strong Hunter hydrogen technology cluster, NewH2, driving collaborative and comprehensive regional investment and advancement in hydrogen technology and industries that will support it,” said Waterfield.
“This puts us several steps ahead in terms of securing investment and building a viable energy ecosystem that will support ongoing industrial growth in this area.
“Our manufacturers are already showing their diversity capabilities in this area while they also continue to support their current requirements.”
The Japanese delegation visited several Hunter businesses and received briefings from the Port of Newcastle, Hunter Hydrogen Taskforce, Hunter Hydrogen Technology Cluster NewH2, Orica, Newcastle Airport and Ampcontrol. It also joined the Hunter Energy Investment roundtable from Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources, AGL Ltd, Energy Renaissance and Port Waratah Coal.
In 2022, there has been progress with alternative-fuel applications for Australia’s trucking industry.
Meanwhile, Hyundai is upgrading its hydrogen refuelling infrastructure and the Victorian Government is even looking to fast-track renewable hydrogen tech with a fund of $7 million for trials and studies.