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Central Queensland hydrogen plant site secured but feasibility study forthcoming

The State Government has secured a 236-hectare site at Aldoga, west of Gladstone, for a three-gigawatt hydrogen plant expected to supply domestic users by 2026 and international users by 2030.

Stanwell signed an optional agreement with Economic Development Queensland that grants the publicly-owned generator the exclusive right to purchase the land when it wishes to begin work on the project, which itself is progressing in partnership with Japan’s Iwatani Corporation.

Neither Stanwell nor the ministers involved in Tuesday’s announcement – Deputy Premier and State Development Minister Steven Miles, Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen Minister Mick de Brenni, and Regional Development and Manufacturing Minister Glenn Butcher – provided the agreed price of the land or details of Stanwell’s agreement with Iwatani.

Stanwell said it and Iwatani were getting together more Japanese and Australian companies to complete a full feasibility study and front-end engineering design for the project in mid-July this year.

“Given the early stage of our proposed project (about to commence a feasibility study), we are unable to provide financials at this time,” it said.

“The consortium will share the costs of the feasibility study and front-end engineering design stages for the project.

“The project is targeting export of green hydrogen to Japan along with supply of hydrogen to large industrial customers in the Central Queensland region to support emissions reduction for domestic industry by 2026.”

Mr Miles said the Aldoga project would create 5000 regional jobs, $4.2 billion in hydrogen exports, and $10 billion for the Queensland economy.

“The 236-hectare site at Aldoga was identified as the preferred location due to its size and proximity to port, power, and pipeline infrastructure,” he said.

“There are other states around the country and other places around the world that would love to have these jobs, that would love to have this industry, so we know we need to move quickly to meet that demand, particularly out of places like Japan and Korea, but also down the track in Europe.”

He said the project would “help with our emissions targets, both by providing stabilisation of demand across the energy market, but also by delivering that access to hydrogen for high-energy-using industries where they need the security of energy that hydrogen can provide when wind and solar might be unavailable”.

Mr de Brenni said the plant would be the largest hydrogen production facility in Queensland.

“The development of a large-scale, renewable hydrogen supply chain in Central Queensland will support the growth of renewables, create jobs and provide access to global export opportunities,” he said.

“We know countries like Japan are looking to the Sunshine State to meet their emissions targets, and in the next decade, Queensland must be ready to capitalise.

“That’s exactly what the Stanwell-Iwatani project will do, scaling up to over 3,000 megawatts of electrolysis capacity by the early 2030s, with millions of tonnes of renewable hydrogen to be exported around the world.

“Locally, it will also benefit construction, utilities, heavy manufacturing, and a range of local service industries.”

Mr Butcher said the site was close to the State Government’s proposed Central Queensland Renewable Energy Zone, which would allow the plant to be powered by renewable energy.

He said the government would invest in hydrogen-related jobs while the industry’s supply chain was established.

“That investment includes $2 million to upgrade training facilities at Gladstone State High School to prepare students for hydrogen jobs,” Mr Butcher said.

Acting Stanwell CEO Adam Aspinall said Stanwell had been looking into hydrogen production since 2018.

“We recently completed a joint planning study for the project with Iwatani and we are now building a broader consortium of Japanese and Australian companies to progress the project to the next stage in the second half of 2021,” he said.

“As a business, we are progressing a range of future energy solutions to ensure we are in the best position possible to respond to changing market conditions.

“We are investigating a range of opportunities to incorporate technologies into our asset portfolio, including hydrogen, energy storage, wind, solar, and bioenergy.”

Source: The Courier Mail