Wollongong City councillors have voiced their dismay that Port Kembla has missed out on an opportunity to develop hydrogen technologies.
Councillors were united in their support for a hydrogen industry in the area at Monday's ordinary meeting, where they unanimously endorsed a submission to a NSW parliamentary inquiry into the development of such an industry in the state.
Cr Ann Martin said she was "bitterly disappointed" to learn Wollongong was not to be included in the National Energy Resources Australia's $1.85 billion network of regional hydrogen technology clusters.
Newcastle is the only location in NSW to be included.
However, the NSW government is coordinating an effort to establish a hydrogen hub at Port Kembla.
Cr Martin said the hydrogen industry represented an opportunity for Port Kembla to again become a critical employer in the city.
Cr Cameron Walters said the council should advocate for a hydrogen hub in Port Kembla, saying hydrogen was "our train to get on".
Cr Mithra Cox said the steelworks meant Wollongong had a strong argument to make for trialling hydrogen steel production.
"If we go out and make declarations, people come to us," she said.
Financial analyst Tim Buckley spoke at the meeting and said green hydrogen energy "will be a winner".
When Cr Martin asked what the council could do to support a local hydrogen industry, Mr Buckley said the the city should make use of the university and the steelworks, and start a trial.
In the submission to the inquiry, the council said Port Kembla was an ideal location for large-scale clean energy hydrogen production, citing its access to renewable energy and recycled water, access to customers and export markets, access to distribution infrastructure, the industrialised precinct, and the existing supply chain and skills base.