The hydrogen energy strategy outlined on Thursday by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is regarded as one of the most significant issues in the upcoming Queensland Budget and will form part of a new 10-year energy plan to be devised by the Government.
Premier Palaszczuk said the hydrogen funds would be added to the existing $500 million renewable energy fund and allow government-owned businesses to expand ownership of renewable energy generation and storage.
The plan has the ability to win support from unions, environmentalists and regional Queensland.
It will also add a push to its 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030, which some analysts have said was in danger of stalling.
She said people could already see where the world was headed and Queensland had the opportunity to be a global leader with Japan, Germany and South Korea seeing Queensland as a key place for hydrogen development.
Significantly, the Government has mandated that the expansion of publicly-owned renewable energy should also drive local manufacturing jobs.
“That means not just mining the minerals for batteries and renewables in Queensland _ it means processing the minerals and making batteries and renewables here as well,’’ the Premier said.
“I want to see hydrogen electrolysers built locally and local assembly of wind turbines and solar panels because that means local jobs.”
The Government also wants a critical minerals demonstration plant in Townsville to help support the manufacturing of vanadium batteries which are being adopted on major renewable energy projects. Brisbane company Vecco has already announced a manufacturing facility.
The new funds would also help fund private sector projects to develop the hydrogen industry.
The Premier said investments in local manufacturing of renewables and hydrogen would deliver lower cost energy and free up gas as an industrial input for manufacturing.
“In the absence of a defined energy plan from the Federal Government I have commissioned (Energy Minister) Mick de Brenni in conjunction with other Cabinet ministers to develop a 10-year energy plan for Queensland.
“We will step up where the Federal Government has stepped out. We know how crucial energy is for regional Queensland and most of the opportunities are here as well,” she said.
“The Queensland Renewable Energy and Hydrogen Jobs fund make sense for the environment, but it also makes economic sense by creating sustainable full-time manufacturing jobs.
“This fund will support a self-reinforcing cycle of investment – a job-generating clean energy industrial ecosystem.’’
She said Queensland had all the minerals needed for the development of a renewables manufacturing sector with cobalt, copper, scandium, nickel needed as well as vanadium and high purity alumina.
“We have the bauxite and aluminium smelting needed for the frames for solar panels and the high purity quartz needed for solar PV. We have the ingredients for titanium needed in hydrogen electrolysers.
“And we have the solar and wind energy to process and manufacture our minerals.
“Growing our resources sector is no longer just about what’s below the ground – it’s now about harnessing the solar and wind above the ground and manufacturing renewables locally.’’
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