$1b hydrogen manufacturing facility secures planning approval

FFI Chairman, Dr Andrew Forrest AO said Gladstone was going to be at the centre of Queensland’s green energy revolution with the first electrolysers scheduled to enter production in 2023.

Eilish Massie

Forrescue Future Industries’ first GEM Centre in Gladstone has received strong endorsement after gaining planning approval from the Queensland Government.

The $1bn hydrogen development facility is destined for the Gladstone State Development Area at Aldoga and is expected to create hundreds of jobs across regional Queensland.

The manufacturing facility is expected to double the world’s green hydrogen production capacity with the first stage of the operation expected to generate 2 gigawatts.

FFI Chairman, Dr Andrew Forrest AO said Gladstone was going to be at the centre of Queensland’s green energy revolution with the first electrolysers scheduled to enter production in 2023.

“This project will not only be a gamechanger for green manufacturing in regional Queensland, it will also provide a major boost for the local economy and indelibly put Queensland as an epicentre of the coming green industry revolution,” Dr Forrest said.

FFI Chief Executive Officer Julie Shuttleworth AM said the manufacturing facility in Gladstone would be a major hub in Queensland’s growing hydrogen industry.

“We are pleased to be working with the State Government on pioneering green hydrogen manufacturing in Gladstone,” she said.

“The project will boost the Australian economy and create local jobs for Queenslanders as we transition away from fossil fuels.

“Receiving planning approval from the State Government brings this project even closer to fruition, as we work towards commencing construction on the first stage in February 2022.”

GEM will be the first step in a series of projects that will continue to transform regional Australia through green industry manufacturing and energy production centres.

The plant will include manufacturing green energy infrastructure and equipment — such as electrolysers, cabling and wind turbines — to create green hydrogen that will be exported across the world.

The project is expected to create 120 construction jobs and 53 operation jobs in its initial stages.

Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development Steven Miles said GEM’s electrolyser facility was a boost to Queensland’s growing credentials as a world leader in green hydrogen.

“It will be the first facility in Australia able to make the multi-gigawatt-scale electrolysers used worldwide in hydrogen production,” he said.

“With initial capacity to manufacture up to two gigawatts (GW) of electrolysers annually, it will be the largest electrolyser factory in the world when it comes online in 2023.

“The facility will be constructed within a four-hectare site with an electrolyser assembly building to cover approximately 12,900 square metres.”

Last October, Andrew Forrest joined Premier Annastacia Palaszcuk at East Shores to announce the project.

The Premier said the project secured the state as ‘a green energy powerhouse.’

“Our close proximity to Asia, our great trading relationships but, in terms of manufacturing, this will mean there will be ongoing jobs … into the thousands into the future,” she said.

The Premier said 300 jobs would be created in regional Queensland over the lifespan of the facility.

“Now we are moving to the next level. The next 11 years leading up to the Olympics will transform our state,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher said the project would see a return of manufacturing in Australia.

“We have said for a long time that people of Australia are sick and tired of getting their equipment, their solar panels, their wind farms, their electrifiers from overseas, now it’s time to bring it back to Queensland,” he said.

The initial electrolyser investment is expected to be up to US$83 million (A$114 million), with the first electrolysers scheduled for production in early 2023.