Edify Energy’s project is the first development application to be formally approved by the Townsville City Council for the planned Lansdown Eco-Industrial Precinct, which aims to co-locate clean energy generation with industrial and manufacturing facilities across more than 2000 hectares of dedicated land 40 kilometres south of Townsville.
Edify plans to initially produce green hydrogen at the site with a 10 MW pilot scale facility before increasing capacity in stages “to meet the needs of a growing domestic and export green hydrogen market,” it said.
The company is also in the development stages of building its 200 MW Majors Creek Solar Power Station, which will supply electricity to the Lansdown facility.
Edify has not yet released capacity or chemistry details about the battery storage facility it is also planning to build at the site though.
Lansdown Eco-Industrial Precinct
The formal approval marks the first stage in the precinct’s development and was warmly welcomed by both Edify and Townsville’s Mayor Jenny Hill. “The momentum continues to build behind the development of northern Australia’s first environmentally sustainable, advanced manufacturing, processing and technology estate right here in Townsville,” Cr Hill said in a statement.
According to her, Edify’s application had been independently assessed by council’s planning officers and approved with conditions relating to development staging, roadworks and traffic safety upgrades.
Edify is one of three companies Townsville City Council said had “signed up to establish themselves at the precinct.”
Queensland Pacific Minerals is an other, and it reportedly plans to produce battery-grade nickel and cobalt sulphate from a nickel-cobalt ore. Imperium3 Townsville (iM3TSV), the third company looking to join, is seeking to develop an 18 GWh lithium-ion battery cell manufacturing facility, according to the council.
Mayor Hill said the Lansdown Eco-Industrial Precinct had the potential to significantly boost Townsville and North Queensland’s economy for decades.
“Lansdown is really significant to the city with the potential for thousands of jobs to be created which would be a huge boost to our economy and bring new skills to the community, particularly when the local economy is recovering from the impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic,” Cr Hill said.
“We welcome the state government’s strong support of this jobs-generating precinct and we will continue to lobby the federal government to similarly get behind the initiative and help realise the jobs and economic benefits it will deliver for North Queensland.”
Townsville misses out on federal funding priority list
On Tuesday, the federal government announced an additional $150 million in grants funding for regional hydrogen projects, expanding its hub priority list from five to seven to include a location in every Australian state. In Queensland, the federal government’s priority location will be Gladstone, south of Townsville.
Queensland-based community group Solar Citizens said it would be unfortunate for Townsville, which is located in the far north – a region espoused by many to be an ideal location for green hydrogen production due to its proximity to Asian markets – to miss out on Commonwealth project funding.
“When you’ve got Edify, Sun Metals and Origin Energy all planning to invest in renewable hydrogen projects, it would be a real shame if Townsville missed out on this federal funding,” Solar Citizen’s Energy Strategist, Stephanie Gray, said.
“Townsville has all the key ingredients to be a clean energy industrial powerhouse: some of Australia’s best solar resources, a skilled local workforce and world-class port facilities.”
Solar Citizens published a report earlier this year which found turning Townsville into a renewable industry powerhouse would create a $154 billion economic boost for the region.
“Townsville has incredible potential but all levels of government need to back the region and build the enabling infrastructure to see these opportunities realised,” Gray added.
Even without Commonwealth government backing, Edify CEO John Cole described the Lansdown Eco-Industrial Precinct’s location as ideal for developing Australia’s green energy industries.
“Existing rail and road infrastructure connecting Lansdown to the Port of Townsville makes the precinct an excellent location to lead the renaissance of exporting value-added Australian-made products to global markets. We have long held the view that Townsville is a very good place to create a green hydrogen export industry and meet the growing need domestically and across the world for this emission free fuel,” Cole said in a statement.
“The linking of clean electricity generation with the proposed advanced eco-industrial activity at Lansdown, together with the hundreds of millions of dollars in investment and opportunities for future proofed careers is what delights us.”
Mayor Hill described Edify’s plan as “a major vote of confidence in our city”.
“Edify’s desire to establish itself at the precinct supports Council’s ongoing efforts to work with both the state and federal government through the Townsville City Deal to get the precinct investment ‘turn-key’ ready as soon as possible,” she added.
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