Hunter New Energy Symposium 2024 kicks off

Amid a massive day of discussion and insight into energy diversification, the emphasis on leveraging the Hunter's rich history of innovation and existing infrastructure signaled a proactive stance towards meeting future energy demands.

Symposium image by Image by Laurie Skovgaard
Image: Laurie Skovgaard

Day 1 of the second Hunter New Energy Symposium 2024 provided a fertile ground for energy professionals to dissect the challenges and opportunities inherent in the diversification of energy systems.

Expert speakers, including Tony Wood from the Grattan Institute, Professor Alan Broadfoot from the Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources (NIER) at the University of Newcastle, and Joseph Capurso from the Commonwealth Bank, set the tone by emphasizing the multifaceted dimensions—economic, social, and security—of this pivotal shift.

Their insights underscored the Hunter region's pivotal role, boasting robust infrastructure, a skilled workforce, and industrial prowess, positioning it as a linchpin in the transition. Boris Novak, Co-Lead of NewH2, echoed this sentiment, lauding the Hunter as the "engine room for energy in NSW," further highlighting its strategic significance.

The Day 1 sessions then delved further into detail and logistics of energy diversification. Nick Faulkner from Origin Energy shed light on advancements in the Hunter Valley Hydrogen Hub, and the intricate interplay between hydrogen and energy industries, emphasizing the imperative of integrated models to surmount existing challenges.

While technology showcased promise, the discourse swiftly turned to policy and investment dynamics. Participants, well aware of the imperative for supportive policies and increased investment, grappled with the challenge of aligning government grant cycles and private investments. Justin Bain from 3ME Technology struck a chord with his advocacy for decisive actions, cautioning against prolonged uncertainties that stifle progress.

In tandem with policy and investment deliberations, research and development emerged as pivotal enablers for growth within the Hunter region. Speakers emphasised the importance of fostering trust and collaborative relationships, while championing structured, industry-led approaches to catalyse regional clusters. The emphasis on leveraging the Hunter's rich history of innovation and existing infrastructure signalled a proactive stance towards meeting future energy demands.

Throughout Day 1 of the Symposium, sustainability resonated as a central theme, permeating discussions on clean energy supply chains and grid connections. With an eye towards disrupting the status quo, speakers emphasised the indispensable role of innovation in ensuring business sustainability, echoing sentiments echoed by industry leaders.

Regional collaboration also took centre stage, with perspectives from adjacent regions such as the Illawarra and New Zealand enriching the discourse, with the collective aim to fortify clean energy supply chains and grid connections fostering a spirit of cooperation and shared responsibility.

The Hunter New Energy Symposium 2024 finishes today.

To read more about particular sessions, panels, speakers and sponsors explore the NewH2 LinkedIn page here.

Industry Partners