Queensland has delivered its 2020-21 State Budget, which includes $10 million over the next four years to develop the renewable hydrogen industry in Queensland.

Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning, Steven Miles, said the $10 million injection increases the State Government’s industry development funding commitment to the hydrogen industry to $25 million.

The commitment strongly aligns with Queensland’s Recovery Plan to rebuild the state economy after the effects of COVID-19.

“Renewable hydrogen offers the opportunity to create a new high-tech industry delivering enhanced environmental outcomes and highly skilled jobs,” Mr Miles said.

“We will use this new allocation of funding to continue working with project proponents to support renewable hydrogen projects in regional Queensland.”

Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen, Mick de Brenni, said the State Government’s first round of the $15 million Hydrogen Industry Development Fund was quickly oversubscribed when it opened in 2019.

“The $10 million commitment extends the support available to the emerging hydrogen industry in Queensland and is expected to lead to both construction and highly skilled operational jobs with the majority of investment interest in regional Queensland,” Mr de Brenni said.

“The next round of Queensland’s Hydrogen Industry Development Fund will open following consultation with industry set down for January 2021.”

Mr de Brenni said there were four successful recipients under the first round of the Hydrogen Industry Development Fund including projects in Townsville, Brisbane and, Gladstone, and the Scenic Rim.

“Australian Gas Networks will build a facility in Gladstone to deliver renewable hydrogen into the city’s gas network and I’m pleased to announce Spicers Retreat in the Scenic Rim will also build a renewable hydrogen plant, storage system and fuel cells at their eco camps,” Mr de Brenni said.

Member for Mundingburra and government Hydrogen Champion, Les Walker, said the government’s Hydrogen Industry Development Fund would grow jobs and skills in the north.

“In Townsville Sun Metals will build a renewable hydrogen facility and in Brisbane, the University of Queensland will replace two diesel-powered intercampus shuttle buses with hydrogen fuel cell electric buses,” Mr Walker said.

The budget follows two recent globally significant announcements about hydrogen in Queensland.

On 27 November 2020 the Government announced that a partnership between Stanwell and Japanese industrial gases company Iwatani Corporation will progress planning on a renewable hydrogen export facility in Gladstone. 

Over eighteen months of planning has already been undertaken to confirm the opportunity for hydrogen to provide a versatile energy carrier that can export renewable energy from Queensland to Japan.

This announcement followed Origin Energy’s announcement on 26 November 2020 that they have a 2021 target for starting early engineering on a hydrogen project in Townsville. 

The Townsville hydrogen project, which the government has been working with Origin to progress for more than a year, involves a venture with Kawasaki Heavy Industries of Japan, involving a 300MW electrolyser that is capable of producing 36,000 tonnes a year of green hydrogen for export and domestic supply.

Member for Rockhampton and government Hydrogen Champion, Barry O’Rourke, said that the State Government’s investment into the green hydrogen industry was catalysing investment amongst the private sector.

“These types of announcements reflect the fact that the private sector and our international partners have recognised the potential of the hydrogen industry in Queensland, to compete on global scale,” Mr O’Rourke said.

Member for Redlands and government Hydrogen Champion, Kim Richards, said supporting private sector investment is a focus area of the Queensland Hydrogen Industry Strategy 2019-2024, released in 2019.

In relation to the hydrogen industry the Queensland Government has committed:

  • $20 million towards a Queensland Apprenticeships Centre in renewable hydrogen at Beenleigh
  • $10.6 million towards a Hydrogen and Renewable Energy training facility at Bohle TAFE in Townsville (Department of Employment Small Business and Training)
  • $2 million has been committed to upgrade training facilities at Gladstone State High School to prepare students for jobs in the Hydrogen industry

“We have always recognised training as a pathway for many Queenslanders to get into a rewarding job,” Ms Richards said.

“With COVID-19, training has become even more critical in ensuring Queensland workers can keep working or access emerging job opportunities.

“The hydrogen industry has the potential to be a multi-billion dollar industry and the investment in training is to ensure we have people with the skills and training ready to meet the demand as it grows and ensure the safe and sustainable development of the hydrogen industry.

“This government will continue to invest in programs like this to make a stronger and more diverse economy as we Unite and Recover for Queensland jobs.”

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