EDF Renewables Australia has entered a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the University of Newcastle to collaborate on research, education, and innovation if EDF is successful in its application for a Feasibility License.
EDF is a proponent vying to operate an offshore wind farm as part of the Federal Government’s Hunter offshore wind zone.
The MoU is aptly timed, following the Federal Government’s official declaration of an offshore wind zone off the Hunter coast in July this year by Federal Energy Minister, Chris Bowen.
The agreement will see EDF explore collaboration with the University of Newcastle in areas such as geotechnical studies, structural design, corrosion protection for marine environments, coastal and offshore flora and fauna investigations, social planning, and community engagement services.
CEO of EDF Renewables Australia, Dave Johnson said the company was thrilled to have the University of Newcastle join forces with them to supply the essential skills and pipeline of future employees for the project.
“The development of the offshore wind farm project will require the training and upskilling of workers across many areas of technical expertise. We’re thrilled to be able to work with the University to ensure they can tailor their education to incorporate the types of knowledge and skills we need to successfully deliver the project,” Dave said.
“Equally we’re committed to providing significant employment opportunities for the people of the Hunter region, many of which will come from the University of Newcastle.”
The University of Newcastle’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alex Zelinsky said the University saw strong partnerships as an important part of supporting students and the region.
“We are committed to being a University that is connected to our regions and provides students with an outstanding experience that sees them graduate as highly competent and employable graduates,” Alex said.
“I am proud of our strong industry partnerships with organisations like EDF Renewables Australia that allow us to share our research capabilities with industry and give our students the opportunity to gain real-workplace experience on globally recognised projects that are happening right here in our region.
“In our journey to clean energy technology we will not only need the infrastructure, but also the workforce to support new industries. This partnership will provide current students with career pathways that might not exist today, and it will also provide people in our existing workforce with opportunities to retrain and upskill for future industries.”
Both EDF Renewables and the University recognise that the cooperative programs and activities that will be explored as part of the MoU will be of significant value to both parties.
These initiatives support the new skill requirements and demand for labour the Newcastle Offshore Wind project will call for.
EDF is looking forward to participating in research exchange initiatives and supporting research and development opportunities, including co-funded Higher Degree Research (HDR) scholarships.
“EDF is committed to ensuring the best outcome for the people of the Hunter during the development and implementation of this project,” Dave said.
“We have a passionate team of Newcastle locals that have been working towards harnessing wind as a renewable energy source for decades, and with the support of the University of Newcastle, we know we can make a marked difference to the clean energy sector and to the future employment opportunities for the region.”
IMAGE | EDF Renewables Australia CEO, Dave Johnson and University of Newcastle’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Alex Zelinsky are excited by the possibilities the MoU creates for research exchange and job creation in the region (left-right).
The University of Newcastle is ranked in the top 3% of universities in the world according to two global independent ranking systems, and in the top 200 universities in the world for medicine.