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Forum focusing on Hunter’s new energy future

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A public forum, hosted by the Newcastle Institute, is expected to focus on the Hunter’s new energy future this week.

The not-for-profit community organisation, which aims to support discussion about key policy issues facing the region and Australia, will stage the roundtable at Souths Merewether (Llewellyn Street) on Wednesday 13 July from 6pm to 7.30pm.

Institute spokesperson Dr Ross Kerridge said the forum would bring together a panel of three prominent experts to provide “unbiased, rational discussion of what is going to happen with energy moving forward and how the Hunter will be affected”.

“The panellists – Dr Jessica Allen, Energy Corporation of NSW manager policy and planning Adam Clarke and Hunter Jobs Alliance coordinator Warrick Jordan – will present their perspectives on whether green hydrogen is a future industry for the Hunter and what infrastructure and engineering solutions are needed to stabilise short-to-medium term energy supply,” he explained.

“They’ll discuss the state’s renewable energy zones and what else governments can do to ensure a just transition for the region from coal.

“Future jobs and the jobs that will disappear will be outlined as part of a broader audience discussion on other socio-economic aspects of a new energy future.”

Dr Kerridge said energy was an important topic of debate, locally, nationally and globally.

“Newcastle is the biggest coal port in the world and many of the region’s jobs are dependent on energy-intensive industries,” he added.

“It is also a leading research centre in energy science and technology and the energy landscape is changing dramatically.

“The recent instability in energy supply threatened blackouts and threw the viability of some industries into focus.

“BHP has just announced the planned closure of the Mt Arthur coal mine and international coal trade is forecast to fall rapidly over the next two decades.

“At the same time, the state government is investing in renewable energy zones.

“In April, the former federal government established a green hydrogen hub in the Hunter which the new government supports.”

Newcastle Institute members attend free of charge, however it is $10 for non–members.

The forum is livestreamed on the organisation’s Facebook page and uploaded on its website the day after the event.

For more information, and membership details, visit www.newcastleinstitute.org.au

New Energy and Newcastle’s Future 

  • What: Newcastle Institute monthly public forum
  • When: Wednesday July 13 from 6pm to 7.30pm
  • Where: Souths Merewether, Llewellyn Street (venue change from United Sports Club).

The panel

  • Dr Jessica Allen, senior lecturer and principal researcher in chemical engineering, University of Newcastle. Dr Allen is an electro-chemistry engineer, science communicator, and researcher focusing on solar hydrogen technologies, direct carbon fuel cells, and carbon-negative technologies. 
  • Energy Corporation of NSW manager policy and planning Adam Clarke. He is leading the implementation of renewable energy zones across NSW. He was awarded a Churchill Fellowship in 2020 to investigate leading global actions to transition cities to a resilient low carbon economy, with a strong focus on electric transport, charging infrastructure, vehicle-to-grid, demand response and renewables.
  • Hunter Jobs Alliance coordinator Warrick Jordan. He focusses on jobs and social issues associated with the region’s future.

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