Hunter Region in New South Wales ready to change towards renewable energy
The Hunter is poised for energy innovation , Newcastle Herald, By Dr
Alan Broadfoot March 5, 2013 “….The Hunter generates over 60per
cent of the state’s electricity and is the largest regional economy in
Australia, with outputs last year totalling almost $37billion.
The region’s willingness for change is part of a growing push to
diversify and expand on our strengths.
Recent developments with hybrid power generation and renewable energy
show this transformative approach in the region.
Macquarie Generation has built Australia’s largest solar thermal
project at Liddell Power Station, a world first for the integration of
solar thermal technology with coal-fired power generation.
The federal government has invested in other major projects in the
Hunter, with $30million going towards the Newcastle Institute for
Energy and Resources, $150million to the Newcastle-based Australian
Solar Institute, and $100million to the Smart Grid, Smart City
The federal government’s Industry and Innovation Statement has
prompted discussion from industry groups and research institutions on
the process and role of ‘‘Innovation Precincts’’ for productivity,
job creation and economic growth.
The Top Breakthrough Actions for Innovation, released in 2012 by the
Office of the Chief Scientist, calls for the establishment of an
Australian Innovation Council and the need to strengthen business
access to publicly funded research expertise….. The Hunter is well
positioned to play a role in meeting these challenges. There is
already a knowledge corridor in the region that links CSIRO’s Energy
Transformed Flagship, the University of Newcastle’s Institute for
Energy and Resources, agencies like the Australian Solar Institute,
and long-standing industry partnerships….. While many of the
Hunter’s industries are carbon intensive or energy and coal-sector
reliant, they acknowledge the unprecedented challenge of transforming
their industries….. the Centre for Intelligent Electricity Networks
led by Ausgrid chair Professor Joe Dong.
This network has established partnerships for research in smart grid
technology with the Industrial Technology Research Institute of
Taiwan, China’s Zhejiang University, North China Electric Power
University and the State Grid Electric Power Research Institute of
These partnerships will give our researchers and Australian industry
an unprecedented test bed facility for smart grid research, with
implications for energy security, renewable energy re-uptake into the
grid and electric vehicles.
An industry-led Energy Innovation Precinct will galvanise the work
under way in the Hunter and provide an innovation framework to support
the economic transition.
Research and training for sustainable development can embrace the
challenges of short-term demand and longer-term environmental,
economic and social sustainability.
Dr Alan Broadfoot is the director of the Newcastle Institute for
Energy and Resources at the University of Newcastle.
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