Out-Law News 1 min. read

A$50m investment to put Queensland at ‘cutting edge’ of hydrogen market

A multi-million-dollar investment in Queensland’s hydrogen market will be key to developing the state’s renewable energy industries, according to one legal expert.

George Varma of Pinsent Masons said the Queensland state government’s pledge to spend A$50 million (approx. US$34m) in new training facilities for workers was “structured and thoughtful” and would place the state “at the cutting edge for encouraging development and participation in its hydrogen market.”

Varma added: “We need to ensure that we have the workforce and planning in place to promote Australia, and particularly Queensland, as an attractive destination to develop hydrogen projects. We expect to see a similar approach adopted in other regions around Australia.”

Around A$20m of the investment would support the new Hydrogen Training Centre of Excellence at Beenleigh. Once opened, the centre will be Australia’s first purpose-built facility for educating a hydrogen industry workforce – designed to support the new generation of apprentices while upskilling existing tradespeople in the safe maintenance and installation of hydrogen systems.

The Queensland government said the new training facility will cater for current and emerging technologies as the hydrogen industry develops and matures over the next 10-20 years, and will expand the state’s training capacity from 600 to 800 apprenticeships per year in fire protection, gas, electrical and plumbing skills.

The A$50 pledge came after the Queensland government published a roadmap (27 pages / 4.22MB PDF) for developing the hydrogen industry’s workforce, that focuses on creating a “pipeline of skilled, adaptable workers” by sharing knowledge and maximising the benefits for communities by adopting a local approach to workforce development. The roadmap also encourages the use of data insights to plan for the workforce demands of the hydrogen industry.

The roadmap is one of a number of Queensland government initiatives designed to position the state at the forefront of hydrogen production in Australia. It follows the release of the state’s five-year hydrogen industry strategy (34 pages / 3.39MB PDF) in May 2019. Initiatives outlined in the strategy include the Queensland hydrogen investor toolkit (21 pages / 1.21MB PDF) – designed to assist investors with planning projects for hydrogen developments in Queensland – and the hydrogen industry development fund, which has allocated funding to a range of hydrogen applications for transport, gas-blending, off-grid storage and wastewater treatment.

Queensland’s hydrogen strategy also created a scheme (15 pages / 250MB PDF) to help local governments to ensure planning schemes are drafted appropriately to support a sustainable hydrogen industry in the state.

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