Green Hydrogen Feasibility study positions Port of Newcastle to drive a diverse Hunter economy

Green Hydrogen Feasibility study positions Port of Newcastle to drive a diverse Hunter economy

As announced last week by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Australia’s deepwater global gateway, Port of Newcastle is partnering with Macquarie Group’s Green Investment Group and the Commonwealth Government’s Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) to support the development of a hydrogen economy in the Hunter Region.

Port of Newcastle and Macquarie’s Green Investment Group have launched a $A3 million feasibility study into the development of a green hydrogen hub at the Port.

This includes the backing of a $A1.5 million funding grant from ARENA, secured under its Advancing Renewables Program. The hub, called the Port of Newcastle Hydrogen Hub, will initially be underpinned by a 40MW electrolyser that over time would increase to a capacity of over 1GW.

The feasibility study into the initial 40MW hub will determine a broad and comprehensive range of potential use cases for green hydrogen in the Hunter which build on the region’s strong industrial heritage.

The study will also assess the suitability of an optimal site within the Port which, given its large size and existing infrastructure, has a range of options for developing and scaling-up hydrogen and ammonia infrastructure that can successfully link into existing East Coast supply chains.

Port of Newcastle and Macquarie’s Green Investment Group have also signed Memoranda of Understanding with Idemitsu, Keolis Downer, Lake Macquarie City Council, Snowy Hydro and Jemena, all of whom will participate in the feasibility study.

Macquarie’s agriculture platform, which manages more than 4.5 million hectares of farmland across Australia, will also participate in the feasibility study, focusing on green ammonia for fertiliser production.

These partnerships represent key industries in the Hunter Region including agriculture, mobility, export and bunkering, energy generation and transport. A Memorandum of Understanding has also been signed with the University of Newcastle as the project’s R&D partner.

Port of Newcastle Chair, Professor Roy Green, said a green hydrogen hub in the Hunter, underpinned by a 40MW electrolyser, would support the development of new industries in the region and contribute to Australia’s long-term economic and energy security, as well as creating local jobs during construction and operations.

Port of Newcastle CEO Craig Carmody said they are thrilled to partner with ARENA on this feasibility study and for this opportunity.

“We are delighted that ARENA has decided to partner with us for this important feasibility study into the Port of Newcastle Hydrogen Hub Project. We thank them for recognising Port of Newcastle’s capabilities for this important regional development opportunity.”


“It makes sense for the Port of Newcastle to play a substantial role in Australia’s bid to become a significant renewable exporter. With our existing access to global energy supply chains, world-class infrastructure, strong industry partnerships, proximity to the existing demand, links to domestic road and rail networks, a local highly skilled workforce and proximity to renewable energy zones, Port of Newcastle is well placed to develop a hydrogen hub and export hydrogen as a tradable energy commodity.

“By partnering with Macquarie’s Green Investment Group to develop the Port of Newcastle Hydrogen Hub Project, we are tapping into the expertise of a world-leading renewables developer, investor and financier. Our partnership brings together local knowledge and international experience to support the diversification of the Port, so that the Hunter continues to be an engine of economic growth for the region and New South Wales.”

The Port of Newcastle Hydrogen Project will support the Federal and NSW governments’ ambitions to produce and export the cheapest clean hydrogen in the world.

It will focus on the production of green hydrogen for domestic and export use, incorporating a green ammonia plant, green hydrogen plant and grid-connected energy solution that will support the regions abundant renewable resource.

“We are committed to future diversification at Port of Newcastle, and this is a significant vote of confidence in our future ambitions to identify and embrace step-change opportunities to create thousands of low-carbon jobs in a new export industry, contribute to the Hunter, NSW and Australian economy, support local industries and customers, and ensure a stronger Port for the future,” Craig said.

“This project has the potential to create thousands of low-carbon jobs in a new export industry for the Port, the Hunter, NSW and Australia. Not only does it support our diversification plans here at the Port, but also our commitment to clean energy diversification, renewables projects and further opportunities to support local jobs and more environmentally sustainable export pathways to global markets.”

Macquarie’s Green Investment Group Head of Industrial Transition and Clean Fuels, Kate Vidgen said this opportunity is exciting and will bring the Hunter and the world a step closer to reducing carbon emissions.

“We are delighted to be partnering with Port of Newcastle to progress an internationally significant green hydrogen hub and, in doing so, support the diversification of the Hunter’s economy,” Kate said

“Countries around the world are actively pursuing green hydrogen opportunities but only a few of the projects we see have the Hunter’s attributes: a strong industrial heritage, a number of domestic and export use cases, and existing high-quality transport and energy infrastructure, and a highly trained local workforce.

“We believe Port of Newcastle has significant scope for producing green hydrogen at the scale required to make it price competitive internationally. To put it into context, a 40MW electrolyser can generate sufficient green hydrogen to power 900 buses for a year.

“An electrolyser with 40MW capacity at the Port of Newcastle Hydrogen Project would support a diversity of use cases, and we are really looking forward to working with our project partners, who represent a range of industries, on this important feasibility study. Working with our project partners, collaborators and a range of stakeholders, this feasibility study will take us even closer to better understanding the range of domestic and export opportunities.”

“The potential for the Port of Newcastle to export hydrogen overseas as a tradable energy commodity is a huge coup for the region, positioning the Port of Newcastle to provide the backdrop for Australia’s future export opportunity and remain a world-leading energy export hub,” Craig said.

“Not only does the region have existing skill base and infrastructure, but it also has scalability to support a long-term cost advantage as hydrogen strengthens as a global commodity.”

IMAGE | Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Port of Newcastle CEO, Craig Carmody, Macquarie Division Director, Mike McKensey with MoU partners and collaborators Macquarie Asset Agriculture, Macquarie’s Green Investment Group, Idemitsu, Snowy Hydro, Jemena, Keolis Downer, Lake Macquarie City Council and University of Newcastle.

Port of Newcastle

Port of Newcastle is a major Australian trade gateway handling 4,600 ship movements and 166 million tonnes of cargo each year. Its annual trade worth more than $29 billion to the New South Wales economy, enabling businesses across the state to successfully compete in international markets.

With a deepwater shipping channel operating at 50% of its capacity, significant port land available and enviable access to national rail and road infrastructure, Port of Newcastle is positioned to further underpin the prosperity of the Hunter, NSW and Australia.

As custodians of the region’s critical asset, Port of Newcastle is diversifying its trade as it strives to create a safe, sustainable and environmentally and socially responsible Port that realises its potential.  


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