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Hunter companies feast on renewable energy, cleantech manufacturing

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Hunter businesses are embracing renewable energy and cleantech manufacturing by producing items such as rechargeable batteries and electric vehicles.

And, as a result, leading company representatives will discuss the burgeoning new industry at two lunchtime talks on Friday 12 August.

Port Stephens Council is hosting a business function at Medowie, with Beyond Zero Emissions Hunter engagement manager Sam Mella heading a panel discussion including Ampcontrol CEO Rod Henderson, Energy Renaissance managing director Mark Chilcote, MGA thermal business development officer Arden Jarrett and NSW Department of Planning and Environment’s head of emissions intensity reduction programs Rob Thomson.

Across town, Hunter iF will stage the Innovators Lunch at Newcastle’s 12N Hub featuring BZE head of projects Monica Tan, SwitchDin CEO Dr Andrew Mears, MGA thermal chief technology officer Alexander Post and PWC’s Caroline Mara.

The forum is a precursor to the Hunter Innovation Festival, slated for October.

“The latest energy economy is revitalising industry in the Hunter, attracting new investment and creating more jobs for the future,” Mr Mella said.

“At the moment, lithium-ion battery maker Energy Renaissance is building a factory in Tomago, MGA’s producing thermal bricks that give us another way of storing renewable energy and SwitchDin is creating software to run renewable energy systems.

“So, the Hunter is leading the charge in cleantech manufacturing, with those companies, along with Ampcontrol, doing amazing work.

“Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts (REIP) are the smart way to take advantage of this boom, building on what local industry is already doing well.

“A Hunter REIP could attract $28 billion in investment, support 34,000 new jobs and earn $11 billion annually by 2032, according to ACIL-Allen modelling commissioned last year.

“The NSW Government has a suite of programs targeting Net Zero Industry and Innovation to help business and industry.

“There’s a role for their federal counterparts to coordinate and deliver infrastructure on a regional scale to maximise efficiencies and economies of scale across the whole Hunter.”

Port Stephens mayor Ryan Palmer said council was keen to play a role moving forward, too.

“It’s great to see the Tomago industrial area evolving as an innovation and cleantech hotspot,” he stated.

“This ongoing investment in renewable energy will benefit the greater Hunter region and complement our existing corporates and create new opportunities to collaborate.

“A Renewable Energy Industrial Precinct will act as a catalyst for ongoing financial ventures in renewable energy production and utilisation, as well as future skills development for our people.”

International engineering company Ampcontrolmhas been delivering energy and electronics solutions to the mining industry for decades and, lately, moving into renewables, including manufacturing electric mining vehicles and batteries.

“We want to make a meaningful difference and improvement to people’s lives and communities, the way they live and work by providing solutions that enable a sustainable future for everyone,” CEO Rod Henderson said.

“Our strategy is to be at the forefront of developing and supplying advanced technology, products and services to the resources, infrastructure and energy sectors that enable a competitive advantage in a net-zero carbon environment.”

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