Townsville signing marks important hydrogen milestone


North Queensland’s hydrogen future and the potential of thousands of regional jobs is a step closer with an agreement between Australian energy company Origin and the Port of Townsville signed today.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said her Government was continuing to deliver Queensland’s plan for economic recovery from the global coronavirus pandemic.

“Part of that plan is supporting regional economies to provide jobs growth in places like Townsville and North Queensland,” the Premier said.

“We said we’d continue to build Queensland’s hydrogen industry and that’s exactly what we’re doing because that means jobs.

“The MoU signed today highlights North Queensland’s importance as a vital link in the supply chain needed for Queensland to become a major renewable hydrogen producer and supplier.

“We’ve invested in a $232 million upgrade of the port channel, $40 million Berth 4 upgrade and $48 million intermodal facility to ensure the port remains a premier gateway for the north.”

Government Hydrogen Champion and Mundingburra MP Les Walker said the North was supporting Queensland’s emerging hydrogen industry.

“We have a proven track record for building infrastructure needed to support major industries like we did with LNG,” Mr Walker said.

“Part of the reason Townsville’s was established was its capacity as a major port and supplier of the services needed for the north’s agricultural and resources industries.

“Fast forward to today and this is a region that has the local skills, construction know-how and scientific expertise to put Queensland on the world map for hydrogen.”

Transport Minister and Acting Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen Mark Bailey said today’s milestone demonstrated the critical role Queensland’s publicly-owned ports are playing in the state becoming an international hub for hydrogen industry and jobs.

“Our state already has a strong international reputation,” the Minister said.

“We’re a leading energy exporter and the world is now looking to Queensland as a leading producer of hydrogen as the next energy source.

“The Port of Townsville is already well positioned as a major goods hub of the North and upgrades will have it ready for additional future capacity.”

“These investments in the port combined with adjacent land in the State Development Area provide growth opportunities for both existing and emerging industries including hydrogen.”

Assistant Minister for Hydrogen Development and the 50% Renewable Energy Target by 2030 Lance McCallum said the MoU would help cement future opportunities for new, secure jobs in Queensland.

“Over the past 18 months Origin Energy and Japan’s Kawasaki Heavy Industries have been working on a 36,500Tpa export liquid hydrogen project,” he said.

“Today’s MoU formally adds the Port of Townsville to this mix and confirms the essential role our proudly publicly owned ports will play in Queensland’s hydrogen journey.”

General Manager Future Fuels at Origin, Felicity Underhill, said Townsville was ideally placed to develop a liquid hydrogen facility due to its deep water port, industrial-zoned land, availability of skilled workers and nearby renewable energy and sustainable water resources.

“This is one of the most advanced commercial scale green liquid hydrogen projects in the world, and we and our partners are looking forward to commencing front end engineering and design (FEED) this calendar year.

“Origin’s MOU with the Port of Townsville is an important and exciting next step in the process.”

Port of Townsville Chair Renita Garard said Townsville was a world class location for renewable hydrogen production with significant export potential to close Asian markets.

“This is an extremely exciting project to be part of as the global demand for hydrogen is gaining momentum every day,” she said.

“Townsville enjoys more than 320 days of sunshine and the region has several established renewable energy developments with the renewable energy potential and regional partners progressing new hydrogen technology every day.”