For more than 45 years, engineering consulting firm WSP has been a driving force in the NSW Hunter region’s reinvention as the area diversifies its industrial base and embraces a wave of new clean energy projects.

As the region evolves, WSP has been part of the urban renewal of Newcastle through important projects like the Newcastle Smart City Intelligent Platform, Newcastle Light Rail and the Hunter Expressway.

Newcastle is expected to grow to 200,000 people by 2040 and the Hunter region will be home to almost one million people by the end of the decade.

Alongside this rapid expansion, it is no secret that the Hunter region will play a critical role in supporting the nation’s energy transition with new energy projects attracting talent to the Hunter from all corners of the globe.

“The Hunter has such a huge role to play in the transition and in the past five years we’ve seen a dramatic shift towards energy projects,” says Emma Dean, WSP’s Regional Director of the Hunter Region.

“These projects attract talent from all over the world, from offshore wind engineers from the United Kingdom to asset closure specialists from South Africa.”

Last year, the Port of Newcastle appointed WSP as lead technical advisor to investigate the technical and commercial viability of renewable hydrogen and ammonia production facilities for its Clean Energy Precinct.

“WSP is proud to have provided our expertise to this technically challenging project,” says Guy Templeton, WSP’s Chief Executive Officer for Asia Pacific.

“It serves as a milestone towards future opportunities to export Australia’s renewable energy to the world, paving the way to a lower carbon future.”

The precinct is striving to accelerate the transition by creating new export opportunities, expand current energy projects as well as support the community with long-term jobs for the region.

“You have to create new business and new opportunities while the sun is shining. Our role has always been to create those new opportunities while we can afford to, while we are not in a crisis,” says the Port of Newcastle’s Chief Executive Officer Craig Carmody.

On Tuesday 18 April, Mr Templeton and Mr Carmody joined Business Hunter’s Bob Hawes and Business Council of Australia’s Chief Executive Jennifer Westacott on the ground in Newcastle to discuss the critical role the Hunter will play in the nation’s clean energy future.

Projects like the Port of Newcastle’s Clean Energy Precinct will create new jobs, forge new partnerships and drive innovation, Ms Westacott told the business forum.

“Decarbonisation is a huge challenge for the nation but it’s also a massive opportunity. We must ensure we have a plan in place to drive the monumental investment needed to power the transition,” she said.

“The Hunter region is emerging as an industrial and energy powerhouse. Projects such as the Clean Energy Precinct will help elevate Australia as a global leader in renewables.” 

The Strong Australia Network centres on getting outside the major cities and bringing together suppliers, distributors, employees, customers and business organisations to discuss the issues facing our regions and work on the solutions to the challenges people face.

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