New regional hydrogen technology clusters in WA and Qld announced
Australia’s emerging hydrogen, equipment, technology and services (HETS) sector has received a boost with the establishment of three new technology clusters in Townsville in Queensland and the Gascoyne and Mid-West regions of Western Australia.
The new clusters will collaboratively engage across the Hydrogen Technology Cluster Australia (H2TCA), a national network of clusters established in February by NERA (National Energy Resources Australia), the independent, federally funded NFP working to support Australia’s energy transition.
The North Queensland Hydrogen Consortium (NQH2) cluster in Townville, to be led by Townsville Enterprise Limited, expands the Queensland cluster network and partners with the Central Queensland Hydrogen Technology cluster in Gladstone, the Toowoomba and Surat Basin Hydrogen Industry Cluster and the Queensland Hydrogen Industry Cluster (H2Q) based in Brisbane, to provide a focal point to connect, collaborate and support the development of the state’s hydrogen technology supply chains.
Mick de Brenni, the Queensland Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen, welcomed the Townsville announcement.
“This announcement builds on excellent local collaboration and recognises the key attributes that Townsville boasts with quality renewable energy and port infrastructure,” he said. “We’ve worked hard to position Queensland as a global powerhouse for clean energy exports and now Townsville residents can look forward to the quality jobs that will generate.
“Townsville has good form when it comes to construction, utilities, maritime [and] heavy manufacturing, and large-scale hydrogen can be its next success story.”
Townsville Enterprise CEO Claudia Brumme-Smith said the announcement is a positive step in the region being recognised across Australia and the world as an integral contributor to the swiftly developing hydrogen economy.
In WA the two new clusters, led by the Carnarvon Chamber of Commerce (Gascoyne) and the Mid-West Chamber of Commerce and Industry, join the three existing WA clusters — the Perth and Peel Hydrogen Cluster, Western Australian Technology Cluster for Hydrogen (WATCH2) and the Pilbara Hydrogen Cluster — to collaborate on technology deployment across the hydrogen value chain and sharing knowledge on industry-enabling opportunities.
Alannah MacTiernan, Western Australia’s Minister for Hydrogen Industry, said the new technology clusters in the Gascoyne and Mid-West regions demonstrated the strength of the HETS sector across the state’s regions.
“Both the Mid-West and Gascoyne regions have the comparative advantages needed to fuel successful local hydrogen industries," she said. “Western Australia will now be home to five technology clusters, which provide opportunities for community engagement and support for the implementation of cutting-edge technologies across Perth and the regions.”
Paul Dixon, President of the Carnarvon Chamber of Commerce, said: “There is currently unprecedented interest in green hydrogen around the world and the recognition of the role it can play in helping the globe meet the target of net zero emissions by 2050.
“We’re looking forward to assisting the establishment of a local Gascoyne Cluster to join NERA’s H2TCA to accelerate the hydrogen supply chain development by enabling vital connection, collaboration and alignment of action across all of Australia.”
Powered by NERA, H2TCA is harnessing Australia’s competitive strengths to expedite the formation of a nationally coordinated HETS sector that supports the scaling of domestic production and end-use or demand side in areas like heavy transport and industrial use.
NERA CEO Miranda Taylor said the announcement highlights the role that Australian technology development and service companies play in driving down costs, creating scale and assisting regional economies to diversify.
“Eleven months on from announcing our cluster program with 13 regions, I am thrilled to see H2TCA add a further three regions to the network — to grow three more hydrogen ecosystems across Australia and foster regional technology and SMEs,” she said.
The development of a national hydrogen technology cluster was identified by the 2019 National Hydrogen Strategy as an important component to scale up Australia’s domestic industry to become a global hydrogen competitor.
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