A new A$2 billion ($1.54 billion) Queensland Renewable Energy and Hydrogen Jobs Fund will be established to expand on the previous A$500 million Renewable Energy Fund in the Australian state.
The fund will enable investments by Queensland’s government owned energy businesses in commercial renewable energy and hydrogen projects, as well as supporting infrastructure, and assist Queensland to achieve its 50% renewable energy target by 2030.
“Today’s Queensland state budget once again shows the importance of the oil and gas industry to the state’s economy,” acting APPEA Queensland director Matt Paull told the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA) conference on Tuesday.
Paull said the Queensland government’s commitment to hydrogen means a bright future for the gas industry in the state for decades to come.
“Natural gas plays a vital role in reducing Australia’s and Asia’s emissions. Australian liquefied natural gas (LNG) is helping to reduce emissions in importing countries by about 170 million tonnes each year and the commitment to the development of hydrogen solutions will make a further substantial contribution,” he said.
“Natural gas is a pathway to a large-scale hydrogen industry,” he added.
“Australia’s LNG export success means the Australian upstream oil and gas industry has the technology, expertise, commercial and trade relationships to make, in particular, hydrogen exports a reality,” said Paull.
“Developing a local hydrogen industry could enable lower emissions both in Queensland and internationally, reduce energy costs, deliver energy security, together with new employment and manufacturing opportunities,” he said.
“Our (oil and gas) industry is worth A$11.1 billion to the Queensland economy each year and directly and indirectly employs more than 47,000 Queenslanders,” Paull said.
“The Budget papers showed petroleum royalties will be more than $2.7 billion over the forward estimates,” he added.
“The sector has also invested more than A$70 billion into Queensland’s economy due to the rapid development of the natural gas and LNG industries,” said Paull.
“Unlocking new oil and gas resources and acreage for development will help to build wealth, economic resilience and whole-of-economy gains for Queensland and the national economy,” he said.
“Responsible development of these resources will also provide lower emissions energy to the local economy and continue to form part of Queensland’s energy mix,” according to Paull.