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The Federal Government is allocating $275.5 million in the upcoming Budget towards developing four ‘clean’ hydrogen production hubs in regional areas.

And Gladstone is in the running to host one of the new hubs, along with Bell Bay in Tasmania, the Pilbara region in WA, the La Trobe Valley in Victoria, Whyalla in SA, the Hunter Valley in NSW and Darwin in the NT.

The May Budget will also include $263.7 million for carbon capture and storage (CCS) and carbon capture utilisation and storage (CCUS) projects and hubs.

Potential onshore or offshore CCS hub locations include Gladstone, Moomba in SA, the Darling Basin (NSW), the North West Shelf and Bonaparte Basin (WA), Darwin (NT) and south-western WA.

The new investments in clean hydrogen and carbon capture technologies are set to create around 2500 jobs, support Australian industry and manufacturing into the future and further drive down Australia’s emissions, the government says.

The announcement comes as Prime Minister Scott Morrison prepares to address a summit on climate convened by US President Joe Biden.

Mr Morrison said the world was changing rapidly and Australia would need to be competitive in a new energy economy to support jobs, especially in heavy industries and regional areas that depended on affordable and reliable energy.

“It is essential we position Australia to succeed by investing now in the technologies that will support our industries into the future, with lower emissions energy that can support Australian jobs,” he said.

“There is a strong appetite from business for the new emissions reduction technologies that they know will be needed to run their operations and keep employing Australians and grow jobs for the future.”

Australia could not pretend the world was not changing. “If we do, we run the risk of stranding jobs in this country, especially in regional areas,” Mr Morrison said.

Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor said the government was backing practical, technological solutions to reduce emissions, not big new taxes.

“We are backing technology to meet our 2030 target and get to net zero,” Mr Taylor said.

A raft of industrial hydrogen proposals have already earmarked Gladstone as a favourable site.

Gladstone is focus of plans by Japanese multinational Sumitomo Corporation and other stakeholders to develop a ‘hydrogen ecosystem’, for example.

Gladstone Ports Corporation, Gladstone Regional Council, Australian Gas Networks (as part of the Australian Gas Infrastructure Group) and CQUniversity are also behind the project.

The organisations signed an MOU last month setting out a three-phase plan, commencing in 2021, with the key end goal by 2030 to see hydrogen exported from Gladstone to the world.

Federal backing for hydrogen and CCS hubs