State of the Region Event and Launch of the O2N

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The Hub joins in a regional forum, MOU signing and the launch of the Orana Opportunity Network.


Regional Development Australia - Orana are committed to a vision for the region as a regional powerhouse recognised for production, value adding, linkages and entrepreneurship. They are forging ahead with several projects to support and grow the resource and energy sectors in the region, and the University of Newcastle, NIER and the Knowledge Hub have pledged their support.

State of the Region Event

On Thursday 26th November 2020, RDA Orana held a State of the Region forum, gathering together industry leaders, universities, project stakeholders, local government and government from across the region and NSW. The networking event and discovery day showcased significant projects and initiatives that are driving the region toward greater economic growth, industry collaboration and increased public and private investment. The NSW Energy and Resources Knowledge Hub provided sponsorship for the forum.

Attendees heard from speakers including Director Programs Renewable Energy Zones Stuart Hodgson; PYBAR Project Manager Brad Rouse; and Director Activation Precincts Parkes SAP Azaria Dobson, on the future of the energy and resources sectors in the Orana region.

Professor Alan Broadfoot, Executive Director of the University of Newcastle's Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources (NIER) spoke on delivering industry and research partnerships for the region before a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the University of Newcastle to represent their position as a Founding Partner of the newly launched Orana Opportunity Network (O2N).

Orana Opportunity Network (O2N)

The aim of the O2N is to support the development of businesses across the region into growth and exports, which will improve sustainability, increase investment, connect businesses, and expose potential collaborations through the hosting of events and training seminars throughout the Orana and Central West regions. The commitment by the University as Founding Partner will support industry/research engagement in the region, explore opportunities for technical placements (PhDs) in local industry and provide the O2N with additional support, services and networks to drive local industry growth.

As part of this initiative, the University’s Newcastle Institute for Energy & Resources (NIER) has committed to working with partners including Fletcher International Exports and Magnis Energy Technologies, to pursue the development of a utility scale battery for integration into agricultural production in the region. Attendees at the forum were witness to the signing of the Tripartite MoU between Magnis Energy Technologies, The University of Newcastle [UoN] and Fletcher International Exports [FIE], for a pilot demonstration project to integrate a 'big battery' into the meat processing giant's flagship Dubbo processing facility.

This partnership was welcomed by O2N board member and Chair of RDA Orana Brad Cam. “The greatest reward offered by Australia’s energy transition lies in successful integration of renewables into the industrial, manufacturing, processing and agricultural sectors,” Mr Cam said.

“Battery storage such as this can enable viability which may have been previously difficult to achieve.”

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development and Leader of The Nationals Michael McCormack also welcomed the partnership.

“It is good to see the agriculture sector working closely with some of our brightest minds to develop new technology that will help the $31 billion industry grow,” he said.

Further information on the presentations from the State of the Region event, and membership opportunities for the O2N can be sourced from Regional Development Australia - Orana.

RDA Orana
Photo: Magnis Technologies chairman Frank Poullas (right) with The University of Newcastle’s Professor Alan Broadfoot and Regional Development Australia Orana’s Megan Dixon.
Alan B
Photo: Alan Broadfoot from the University of Newcastle presenting on the opportunities for research and industry partnerships for the region.
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