Queensland earmarked for huge ‘new energy’ investment

AS much as $26 billion worth of new energy economy projects have been earmarked for development in Queensland, according to a Federal Government report.

Dec 21, 2021, updated Dec 21, 2021
ReNu has signed up with HESTA to progress hydrogen projects (file picture)

ReNu has signed up with HESTA to progress hydrogen projects (file picture)

The detail in the report shows that Australia is making small but important steps in weaning its investment away from fossil fuels.

Although the report pointed to $133 billion in possible hydrogen projects nationally, only a fraction had been committed while coal accounts for $75 billion “expected’’ project development nationally. 

About $29 billion nationally had been detailed for projects related to the electric vehicle sector, which includes mineral projects like zinc, copper and cobalt.

The Department of Industry major projects report found 21 major hydrogen projects worth more than $133 billion worth of potential investment and15 per cent larger than oil and gas investment and twice the size of investment in coal. 

“The majority of the proposed projects are for renewable hydrogen, reflecting Australia’s abundant renewable energy sources available for hydrogen production. The industry is in the early stages of development in Australia, but has huge potential,’’ the report said.

However the vast majority of the projects have not progressed past announcement stage and would not commence commercial operations until after 2025, with a significant amount commencing after 2027. 

“If momentum is sustained, and projects are completed according to anticipated timeframes, Australia could be one of the world’s largest hydrogen suppliers by 2030,’’ the report said.

Seven hydrogen projects have been announced in Queensland. 

Resources Minister Scott Stewart said “new energy economy resources’’ – including hydrogen, battery minerals and rare earths projects – were the big movers in resources and energy nationally over the past year.

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The State Government’s draft resources industry development plan, which was released last month, has also highlighted the potential.

“These latest reports are further proof that our early work is starting to yield results and the state stands to benefit from growth in these minerals,” he said.

The Resources and Energy Quarterly showed aluminium, nickel, zinc and copper were benefiting from the global move to low emission technologies.

Queensland exported almost $8.6 billion worth of aluminium, bauxite, copper and zinc in the 12 months to October 2021.

The report also forecasts a “significant uptick” in resources and energy investment in 2022 and potential for further expansion in subsequent years

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