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  • 2021 December 5 10:47

    New regional technology clusters in WA and Qld driving growth in Australia’s hydrogen sector

    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.

    Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor welcomed the announcement and said the Morrison Government’s ambition is to produce affordable clean hydrogen for use both in Australia and to export to our trading partners, and regional Australia is critical to this.

    “These new clusters are great for the people of Townsville, Gascoyne and the Midwest regions as they will help accelerate hydrogen industry development by enabling vital connection, collaboration, and alignment of action across Australia,” Minister Taylor said.

    “Encouraging innovation, and building capabilities, particularly in regional Australia, will help make Australian hydrogen supply chains the most attractive in the world.”

    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 MP, the Queensland Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen, also 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,” Mr de Brenni 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, heavy manufacturing, and large scale hydrogen can be its next success story.”

    Townsville Enterprise CEO Claudia Brumme-Smith said today’s 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.

    “With our region now part of a national network of like-minded clusters, we look forward to realising our potential to build upon the unique advantages that geographically come with being in.”

    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 MLC, 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.

    “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.

    “Were 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.”

    Todd West, the President of the Mid West Chamber of Commerce and Industry added: “We’re thrilled to bring the Mid West Hydrogen Cluster to the region after working collaboratively with industry and NERA.

    “The cluster will strengthen and build hydrogen capability and capacity within the region, support innovative technologies and SMEs and link companies through collaboration and the development of a broader offering of local jobs, training and educational pathways through schools, TAFE and universities.

    “We look forward to the opportunity to be part of a connected community focusing on the next future industry that will transform the way we live, work and play.”

    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. Also focussed on reducing overlaps and identifying gaps in the development, deployment, and commercialisation of new hydrogen focused technologies.

    NERA CEO Miranda Taylor said today’s 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.”

    “The coordinated approach and collaborative mindset within the regions will create connections throughout Australia to enable the acceleration of innovation, technology commercialisation and diversification of regional economies.”

    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.

    Today’s announcement continues NERA’s active role in driving coordination and collaborative opportunities to realise Australia’s hydrogen potential across the hydrogen value chain and ensure that Australian companies are well placed to supply new equipment, technology and services to domestic and international markets.

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