'Next LNG boom': Energy innovation hub promised for city
GLADSTONE is to be at the centre of Australia's emerging hydrogen industry with a $1 billion plan to be promised by Opposition Leader Bill Shorten today.
Arriving in Gladstone on his red Bill Bus, Mr Shorten will reveal his party's plan to revive Gladstone and Central Queensland and create export opportunities and blue-collar jobs.
As part of his tour to deliver sweeteners at key Queensland federal election battlegrounds, Mr Shorten will today announce how Labor will make Gladstone the "hydrogen capital of Australia", if elected.
He will promise Gladstone will be the home of a $3 million National Hydrogen Innovation Hub, with the aim to kick-start commercialisation of hydrogen technologies.
The hub will act as an incubator and test-bed to explore opportunities to develop the energy industry in Gladstone.
"Hydrogen is an emerging industry that has huge potential to deliver significant economic, employment, energy and environmental benefits," Mr Shorten said.
"Gladstone's local expertise and existing natural gas transmission and export infrastructure make it the natural home to kick-start Australia's hydrogen industry.
"Central Queensland is a world leader in natural gas and LNG production and Labor wants Central Queensland to be a world leader in hydrogen production too."
Hydrogen gas is an energy source developed through electrolysis using renewable energy.
Labor's candidate for Flynn Zac Beers said the innovation hub would be a "game changer" for Gladstone.
"Labor will lay the foundation of a brand new hydrogen industry right here in Gladstone," Mr Beers said.
He said the industry could create decades of jobs.
"We have the people, we have the skills and we have the port - now that we have the investment, this could be the next LNG boom for Gladstone," he said.
The hub will be designed in partnership with local industry and businesses already making investments in the hydrogen space.
It is part of Labor's six-point National Hydrogen Plan, which will also be announced today.
Under the election promise, $1 billion would be taken from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to go towards loans to companies exploring hydrogen development, as part of a commitment to double CEFC's capital by $10 billion.
Hydrogen is currently seen as expensive and difficult to transport, but it is expected to find an emerging international market over the next decade.
Japan would be expected to be the largest export customer if cheaper hydrogen can be produced.
What's next for hydrogen?
IT IS hoped Gladstone will be in prime position to secure a slice of the global hydrogen export market, which is expected to be worth $215billion worldwide by 2022.
Hydrogen gas is seen as a potential clean fuel and power source, but it is expensive to produce and difficult to transport.
Today Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten will announce Labor's six-point plan to kick start hydrogen production and exports, with Gladstone expected to play a key role.
It's not the first time the Port City has been at the centre of discussions on how to ship the elusive gas.
Yarwun's Northern Oil Refinery played host to Japanese academics and energy executives in February last year to discuss a potential partnership to help fuel Japan's hydrogen needs.
While today's announcement is a national six-point plan, Gladstone will be in the spotlight as an area for potential development because of its supply of renewable energy, existing gas pipelines and deep water port.
According to ACIL Allen Consulting, hydrogen exports could be worth $10billion in 20 years and create 16,000 new blue collar jobs, mainly in regional areas.