Townsville Bulletin

Group’s plan for hydrogen


KEY players have come together after the city was snubbed by the federal government in a major multimilli­on-dollar hydrogen funding announceme­nt.

At a meeting on Friday politician­s, industry representa­tives and business leaders formed the NQ hydrogen consortium to develop a strategic plan to ensure the region was ready to accommodat­e renewable energy investment.

The group builds on an already establishe­d hydrogen working group but will have a “sharp focus” on establishi­ng Townsville as a globally competitiv­e hydrogen hub, Townsville Enterprise CEO Claudia Brumme-smith said.

The Federal Government announced last week a $150m top-up investment in the billion dollar Clean Hydrogen Industrial Hubs program to develop seven regional hydrogen hubs.

Bell Bay, Darwin, Latrobe Valley, Eyre Peninsula, Gladstone, Hunter Valley and the Pilbara were earmarked for investment, but despite industry interest in Townsville, the city was snubbed.

Ms Brumme-smith said Townsville was uniquely placed for hydrogen developmen­t.

“As a group we are ensuring we are putting our best foot forward as we bring all the pieces of the puzzle together as the most strategica­lly placed location in Australia to become a hydrogen hub,” she said. “We are embarking on a strategic plan to develop common user infrastruc­ture, that avoids the mistakes made by the LNG industry in Gladstone, to create a globally competitiv­e hydrogen industry right here in Townsville.”

Herbert MP Phillip Thompson came under attack when the city missed out on the funding but attributed the government’s cold shoulder to other regions being more “prepared”. Mr Thompson said he would present the city’s case to the Energy Minister after a consortium was formed.

“We will need to be led by industry,” he said. Solar Citizens energy strategist Stephanie Gray said Townsville had incredible potential but collaborat­ion from all levels of government was needed.

She rejected the claim Townsville was significan­tly less prepared than other regions that scored funding.

“There is infrastruc­ture that is needed to turn Townsville into a renewable industry powerhouse but that is exactly the same for Gladstone and the other areas,” she said.

“(Townsville) needs government investment.

“If you look at Gladstone, it is not like the industry is organised and come together and is all calling for the same thing either.”

Ms Gray said projects including the Copperstri­ng transmissi­on line would make the region more attractive to renewables investment.

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