For the third day in a row, the Government has pinned itself to green hydrogen, a gas that has enormous potential, but is a long way from being commercially viable.
It also signed a statement of cooperation with resources giant Rio Tinto “to seize the opportunities presented by clean energy and make central Queensland an industrial and renewable energy powerhouse”.
Rio said it could underwrite long-term green offtakes for its industrial assets which could help create the industrial demand needed to develop a globally competitive green energy solution and lead to more processing and manufacturing in Central Queensland.
And that followed two previous announcements relating to a potential hydrogen-fuelled ammonia plant at Gibson Island and an electrolyser manufacturing plant at Gladstone.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said that it was expected the government-owned CS Energy would be producing green hydrogen at the Chinchilla plant in less than two years.
“We’re investing in renewable energy to create long-term, sustainable jobs for Queenslanders,” she said.
“By acquiring more, public assets, we can ensure that these jobs stay in Queensland.
“To position our state to capitalise on the renewables revolution, as a state, we must invest in new assets and partner with the private sector to create jobs. That’s exactly what we’re doing.”
Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen Mick de Brenni said CS Energy had encountered strong interest from potential domestic off-takers after a successful feasibility study with Japanese industrial giant IHI Corporation Japan.
“Investment in renewable energy is a key component of Queensland’s plan for economic recovery,” Mr de Brenni said.
“The Kogan Creek project is an opportunity for publicly-owned CS Energy to stake its territory in the hydrogen sector and expand Queenslanders’ ownership of renewable energy assets.
“Better yet, CS Energy are looking to support the decarbonisation of the heavy transport and haulage market with their locally produced zero emission fuel and discussions are well advanced with multiple potential off-takers.
“The plant will be built beside the highly efficient Kogan Creek Power Station and will include the co-location of a solar farm, battery, hydrogen electrolyser and hydrogen fuel cell.”
CS Energy chief executive Andrew Bills said in addition to selling hydrogen into the domestic market, CS Energy could use the plant’s battery to provide grid stability services.
Palaszczuk said the statement of cooperation with Rio Tinto was to ensure Central Queensland could take advantage of the state’s natural energy advantage and drive employment and economic outcomes from investment in renewable energy projects.
Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development Steven Miles said the government would work with industry to find ways to build more renewable energy faster.
“This will be a multi-signatory statement which will ensure that Central Queensland becomes one of the first regions in the world to benefit from the massive growth in demand for renewable energy,” Miles said.
Rio Tinto, the first partner to join the statement, has signed on with a commitment to use their experience to help deliver future green industry for Queensland.
Rio Tinto Aluminium chief executive Ivan Vella said “transitioning to a low carbon economy presents a real opportunity for industrial regions if stakeholders are willing to both think differently and collaborate.”
“We have been in the region for more than 50 years and we share the State Government’s goals for decarbonisation, job creation and a vibrant industrial future for the region.
Rio Tinto chief executive, Australia, Kellie Parker said “we are very excited about the opportunities ahead.”
“We operate a unique, integrated aluminium business in Queensland, from bauxite mining through to finished metal production, and we know that, with a committed and coordinated approach to a new energy future, Queensland can thrive in a global low-carbon economy,” Parker said.