Grattan Institute report says the Hunter has an historic opportunity to become part of a multi-billion dollar export-focused manufacturing sector.

"The Hunter region deserves a better strategy than just hoping that demand for coal will continue Indefinitely," Tony Wood, Grattan Institute 

Vision: The Grattan Institute says the Hunter has the potential to become part of a multi-billion dollar export-focused manufacturing sector. Picture: Brendan Esposito
 Vision: The Grattan Institute says the Hunter has the potential to become part of a multi-billion dollar export-focused manufacturing sector. Picture: Brendan Esposito

The Start with steel: A practical plan to support carbon workers and cut emissions report also highlights the key role of government policy in the creation of a new manufacturing industry based around clean energy.

The biggest opportunity for the Hunter was in low-emissions 'green steel', which is made by using renewable energy to extract hydrogen from water and then using the hydrogen to replace coal in the steel-making process.

"The Hunter has access to the high quality renewable energy needed to make hydrogen cost effectively. It is the hub of the NSW power grid, and can draw a mix of solar and wind energy from the north, south and west of the state," report author Tony Wood said.

"The Hunter also has the other key ingredients needed to make and ship green steel to Asia. It has the Newcastle port and, crucially, a large workforce capable of building a new export industry."

The report estimates that capturing 6.5 per cent of the global steel market would generate about $65 billion in annual export revenue and could create 25,000 manufacturing jobs in NSW and Queensland.

Hot stuff: The Hunter's access to renewable energy is among it biggest competitive advantages in a clean energy economy.

 Hot stuff: The Hunter's access to renewable energy is among it biggest competitive advantages in a clean energy economy.

In addition to environmental benefits, the emergence of a green steel industry would provide opportunities for coal industry workers to proactively transition to clean energy jobs.

Read the full article by Matthew Kelly in the Newcastle Herald here

OR Go straight to the Start with Steel report here