The New South Wales Hydrogen Strategy identifies the Hunter region of the State as a major hydrogen hub development opportunity.
The Hunter region as a whole extends approximately 100-300 kilometres north of Sydney. There are several major centres of economic activity in the Hunter region (indicating potentially large hydrogen end use applications) including large-scale mining, agriculture, manufacturing (e.g., ammonia and ammonium nitrate production), freight and logistics, and tourism operations.
Initial hydrogen development opportunities are centred around Newcastle and the surrounding area. The Port of Newcastle is one of Australia’s largest deep-sea access ports, is a major freight and logistics centre, and has access to existing high voltage transmission infrastructure.
The Hunter region as a whole has access to existing high voltage transmission infrastructure and the New South Wales Government is in the process of planning/developing the proposed Hunter-Central Coast Renewable Energy Zone. The proposed Regional Energy Zone would contain infrastructure supporting development of renewable energy projects.
The Australian Government, through its Regional Hydrogen Hubs Program – Hubs Implementation funding stream, has awarded AUD$70 million to Origin Energy which, in partnership with Orica, is progressing the Hunter Valley Hydrogen Hub project, located in the Newcastle industrial and port precinct.
The New South Wales Government, through its hydrogen hubs initiative, has made AUD$150 million in grant funding available to support commercial-scale green hydrogen projects in the State. While projects in the Hunter area may receive funding from this initiative, no funding has been allocated to projects in the Hunter region as of July 2023.
As regards hydrogen-hubs eligible programs, in the October 2022 2022-23 federal budget, the Australian Government included AUD$100 million to support the Port of Newcastle and the Hunter region of New South Wales to become hydrogen-ready.
The Hunter region is home to a number of prospective large-scale hydrogen projects included in HyResource, with ammonia production potential targeted.