Townsville heavy vehicles could soon be trucking-on with hydrogen thanks to up to $5 million from the Palaszczuk Government, for new prime movers and a refuelling facility.
Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development Steven Miles said Aurizon were a successful applicant through round two of the $35 million Hydrogen Industry Development Fund (HIDF).
The announcement comes after the release of the Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan, the Palaszczuk Government’s plan for a bold clean energy future for Queensland including the biggest pumped hydro scheme in the world.
“Townsville and North Queensland are big winners in Queensland’s Energy and Jobs Plan, lining the region up to become a renewable energy powerhouse,” Mr Miles said.
“Aurizon’s project will put four hydrogen-fuelled prime movers on the road in Townsville and create more opportunities for other businesses to convert their transport fleets to new technology fuel.”
Mr Miles said as part of the Energy Plan, the Government had announced they would build transmission infrastructure from Townsville to Hughenden, connecting the North West Minerals Province to the new electricity Super Grid.
“Connecting Hughenden and Townsville will unlock more renewables and is a critical step to connecting Mount Isa to the grid.
“We’re also working on fast tracking the connection to Mount Isa and the North West Minerals Province, which would unlock hundreds of billions of dollars and thousands of jobs.”
Minister for Energy, Hydrogen and Renewables Mick de Brenni said the clean energy transformation in Townsville had already generated around $800 million investment in more than 400 MW of large-scale renewable energy, creating more than 900 jobs.
“The plan will create 64,000 jobs in clean energy infrastructure including new skilled jobs in construction of transmission and renewable energy projects,” Minister de Brenni.
“Connecting Mount Isa to the transmission network represents a unique opportunity to support a clean energy industrial ecosystem from the North West Minerals Province to Townsville, growing opportunities for jobs in the clean energy economy.”
Mr de Brenni said round two was the HIDF’s biggest investment so far in Queensland’s growing hydrogen supply chain.
“Aurizon’s project is another important step on Townsville’s journey to becoming a global green hydrogen superpower,” Mr De Brenni said.
Aurizon Managing Director and CEO Andrew Harding said renewable hydrogen offers enormous opportunities to Australia’s transport industry.
“Renewable hydrogen is one of the emerging energy options that will assist industry to decarbonise operations throughout the supply chain while remaining cost competitive,” Mr Harding said.
“Aurizon is Australia’s largest rail freight company and renewable hydrogen will play an important role in enabling us to reach our target of net zero operational emissions by 2050.
“Queensland Government funding will assist us to look at replacing diesel-powered trucks with new technology hydrogen fuel cell electric heavy vehicles.”
Minister for Resources and Member for Townsville Scott Stewart said Aurizon was prioritising renewable energy projects that will utilise locally produced hydrogen.
“Aurizon plans to use four hydrogen-powered prime movers to haul goods in and around its freight operations at Stuart Terminal and the Port of Townsville,” Mr Stewart said.
“It’s projects like this that have allowed us to deliver the transforming Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan because we’re a government that invests and we have a private sector that has confidence in Queensland.”
Member for Mundingburra and North Queensland Hydrogen Champion Les Walker said Townsville’s publicly owned port was well positioned.
“The prime movers are expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by up to 1,000 tonnes per year, representing a major reduction in its use of diesel fuel for road transport,” Mr Walker said.
“Aurizon plans to build a refuelling station in Townsville and source hydrogen from another company that’s also progressing renewable hydrogen use in the north, Ark Energy.
“Just last week Townsville’s own Ark Energy signed the first MOU for international green energy exports from North Queensland.”
Member for Thuringowa Aaron Harper said The Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan would set Townsville and North Queensland up to be a renewable industry leader.
“By providing more clean, reliable, and affordable energy we can shore up our existing industry and bring more manufacturing jobs home,” Mr Harper said.
“Because we kept energy assets in public hands, we have unprecedented control over our own destiny and this plan locks in Queensland’s energy security for the future.
“The Government is investing in projects like Aurizon’s hydrogen-fuelled trial to prioritise new opportunities and more jobs in our existing and new industries.”
Aurizon is Australia’s largest rail-freight transport business and an ASX100 company. The company annually transports more than 250 million tonnes of Australian commodities, connecting miners, primary producers, and industry with international and domestic markets.
Hydrogen Industry Development Fund (HIDF).
The fund assists in driving investment and accelerating the development of hydrogen projects in Queensland. It supports the Queensland Hydrogen Industry Strategy to grow a sustainable hydrogen industry that supports renewable resources, creates jobs and strengthens our economy.
Round two of the HIDF will see more than $20 million allocated to renewable hydrogen projects that are expected to support hundreds of highly skilled jobs.
The HIDF is supporting projects across Queensland that focus on domestic uses of renewable hydrogen.