The Australian government has released guidelines for the competitive Townsville Region Hydrogen Hub program, which will deliver $70 million towards projects that accelerate the development of a hydrogen industry in north Queensland.
With matched funding, the region will see a $140 million investment in renewable hydrogen for domestic use or to supply the rest of the world as fuel, energy generation and storage, or as a chemical feedstock.
The Townsville Hydrogen Hub will create regional jobs, support Australia’s transition to a clean energy economy, and encourage decarbonisation in hard-to-abate sectors, such as industrial processing and transport.
The region’s port facilities, workforce capacity, and proximity to Asian trading partners make it an ideal location for a green hydrogen hub.
“This is an important development for Australia and North Queensland,” Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said. “Australia is already one of the largest exporters of energy in the world; a thriving hydrogen industry here in north Queensland will be critical for us to become a renewable energy superpower as well.”
“The hub will help secure jobs and economic growth in Queensland, delivering on one of our key commitments, and could also pave the way for exports to our valued trading partners in Japan, South Korea and across Asia.”
The government’s investment in hydrogen hubs is now more than $525 million, including the $454 million Regional Hydrogen Hubs program for projects in places like Gladstone, the Hunter Valley, the Pilbara, Port Bonython and Bell Bay.
The government is also investing $89.5 million to help the transport sector make the switch to hydrogen, including through hydrogen refuelling stations along Australia’s busiest freight routes.
By 2050, Australia’s hydrogen industry could generate $50 billion in additional GDP and create over 16,000 jobs, as well as an additional 13,000 jobs from the construction of renewable energy infrastructure to power the production of green hydrogen.
“Green hydrogen will play a crucial role in Australia’s clean energy transformation and create jobs for technicians, tradespeople and engineers, as well as significant opportunities in related businesses and service industries,” Energy Minister Chris Bowen said.
“It is important that we support hard-to-abate sectors, including heavy industry and transport, to reduce their emissions and achieve net zero by 2050.”
“These regional hubs will give our green hydrogen industry an early-stage springboard to scale, which will help to promote further growth and investment in clean technology.”
Producers, consumers, and potential exporters of hydrogen across industrial, transport, export and energy markets are eligible to apply for the Townsville Region Hydrogen Hub program. Grants from $30 million to $70 million will be available under an open and competitive application process when applications open in March 2023.
Applicants will be assessed in two stages, with an initial open competitive process. This will be followed by a formal application process for shortlisted applicants.