Announced yesterday through the 2022 Queensland budget, the state will focus heavily on hydrogen and “new economy minerals”.
“Queensland is quickly becoming a renewable energy and hydrogen powerhouse,” the Queensland 2022 budget paper read.
“There are opportunities to supply the world with new-economy minerals and to manufacture the tools needed to combat climate change and redeploy our workforce.”
As part of the budget, $48 million will be earmarked for pumped hydrogen energy storage projects.
As indicated in the budget, Gladstone is expected to become one of the world’s largest hydrogen equipment manufacturing facilities, with the Queensland government partnering with Fortescue Future Industries.
Additionally, a new facility will be established in Aldoga to manufacture electrolyzers (machines that power electrolysis, the process of making hydrogen). Production will start in 2023.
“Gladstone will also have Australia’s first renewable hydrogen powered passenger ferries. The government will invest $5 million from its $35 million Hydrogen Industry Development Fund to support Sealink Marine & Tourism in developing this emerging transport option for the local community.” doing,” the budget said.
It is great for the Queensland government to see hydrogen as a focus, a renewable fuel that could also be fuel for cars, but for these projects to be as sustainable as possible, hydrogen production facilities need to be powered by renewable energy. (otherwise you are producing energy using only fossil fuels).
But what about “new economy minerals”, what is a new economy mineral?
According to the Queensland government, a new economy mineral is a mineral used in emerging technologies, such as electric vehicles, renewable energy products, low-emission power sources, consumer equipment and products for the medical, defense and scientific research sectors.
To put it bluntly, these are the minerals we will need as we transition to more sustainable technologies. The state government actually has a pretty handy map of where it is projecting the new economy minerals across the state, in which minerals are being mined (cobalt, tungsten, vanadium, graphite and titanium, to name a few).
Apart from hydrogen and new-economy minerals, the budget was fairly light on renewable energy, in fact, there was not much to be said for clean energy. However, as the renewables economy outlines, Queensland will become one of the first states to impose higher taxes on coal producers.
“The adoption of decarbonization does not have to come at the expense of the economy or jobs,” Queensland Treasurer Cameron Dick said in her budget speech.
Higher royalty fee to be paid to coal producers in the stages of decarbonizing, increasing the cost of coal extraction for large coal mining companies. Considering the shrinking international market for coal (with China reducing coal imports and India’s adoption of renewable energy) this is a symptom of things to come.
If you want to flick through the Queensland 2022 budget, you can find the highlights here.