Newcastle is cementing its place as a technology centre for Australia’s clean energy future with the opening of the Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources (NIER).
The NIER will be a hub for leading-edge research into the development of clean energy sources.
The $42.2 million project is backed by $30 million in Australian Government funding through the Education Investment Fund. This funding will build capacity at the NIER allowing for both an increase in research training as well as providing sufficient facilities to accommodate both industry partners and academic researchers in one location.
"Today we mark a number of important milestones in this key project with the refurbished BHP Billiton site, which includes 20 labs and five high-quality industrial-scale pilot-plant workshops becoming operational, and work on the new research building commencing," said Federal Minister for Resources and Energy, Martin Ferguson.
Better managing consumption of energy and water, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and developing new energy sources are areas of focus for the NIER.
Around 300 research staff will bring their expertise and insights to the task when the NIER is fully operational. They will work to create a new generation of energy production and distribution systems.
Research conducted at the NIER is expected to help industry discover new ways of using less energy. It will be overseen by a newly formed Governance Board chaired by Dr Eileen Doyle.
The Hunter region is emerging as not only a national but an international hub for the development of clean energy technology.
Newcastle already boasts several clean energy projects and initiatives including the Government’s $100 million Smart Grid, SmartCity project and the CSIRO’s Energy Centre, home of the CSIRO Solar Research Tower and headquarters of the $150 million Australian Solar Institute.