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News

Japanese public utility J-Power has signed up to help fund and develop Genex Power’s proposed Kidston Stage-3 wind project.

The wind farm would be part of the $1 billion Kidston Clean Energy Hub, along with an existing solar farm and the cornerstone Kidston pumped storage hydro project, which Genex says is nearing financial close.

J-Power will earn a stake of up to a 50 per cent in the North Queensland wind farm through an initial contribution of $1.5 million to expedite monitoring, planning and other feasibility work over the next 12-18 months.

Genex Power said the feasibility workstreams would allow project financing activities to be conducted, with construction expected to start in 2022.

“Genex is very pleased to enter into this development agreement with J-Power and thus continue to build the strong working relationship we have developed since 2019,” Genex chief executive officer James Harding said.

“With over 1GW in their global wind portfolio, J-Power brings considerable global wind experience to the development of the Kidston wind project, which will be Genex’s first wind farm.

“The agreement provides Genex with access to J-Power’s significant wind expertise alongside additional project level capital, and will enable us to expedite the project development activities with the aim of bringing it online shortly after our flagship Kidston pumped storage hydro project in 2024. “

The projects are located at the old Kidston gold mine site about 270km north-west of Townsville.

The wind farm agreement comes after Genex signed a new $25 million Share Subscription Agreement with J-Power in August. 

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Queensland-owned Stanwell Corporation has announced a landmark partnership with Japan’s largest hydrogen supplier to progress green hydrogen production and export from Central Queensland.

Stanwell chief executive officer Richard Van Breda said the Stanwell-Iwatani Corporation consortium would build commercial and government partnerships to enable the project to move towards a bankable feasibility study and front end engineering design.

“Stanwell welcomes the opportunity to continue working with Iwatani on the development of a large-scale hydrogen industry in Central Queensland, with the view of exporting hydrogen to Japan.”

Mr Van Breda said Stanwell and Iwatani had recently completed a concept study which identified that Central Queensland had the natural competitive advantages to be a world leader in exporting hydrogen.

“The region has high quality renewable energy resources, available land and water, port infrastructure, and is in close proximity to key export markets,” he said.

“While our concept study showed there is still a way to go for hydrogen to be commercial, collaborating with key partners such as Iwatani will help to drive down the cost of hydrogen technologies, and support the development of the industry.”

Mr Van Breda said the development of a large-scale hydrogen industry would support electricity security and reliability and help underpin renewable energy integration and investment in Central Queensland.

“Stanwell is exploring opportunities to evolve in response to a changing energy market including facilitating the development of a Central Queensland hydrogen industry,” Mr Van Breda said.

“Large-scale hydrogen production would introduce new load into the region which would ease pressure on the electricity network and support the growth of renewables in the Central Queensland region.”

Newly-appointed Queensland Minister for Renewables and Hydrogen Mick de Brenni said the partnership with Iwatani was evidence of Queensland’s commitment to rapidly developing its potential as a green hydrogen exporter.

“The Premier has given me a mandate to do everything we can to grow this industry, and put Queensland workers front and centre in this,” he said. 

“We’ll continue to partner with the world’s leading energy companies, including our own, to develop this exciting new industry in Queensland.”

Stanwell runs a number of generating assets including the Stanwell Power Station in Rockhampton and Tarong North Power Station in the South Burnett region

It received ARENA funding to conduct a feasibility study into a 10 MW hydrogen demonstration plant at Stanwell Power Station.

The purchase of energy from renewable energy projects in the region to deliver a carbon-neutral hydrogen product was a critical component of the study.

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Major power and gas player Origin Energy aims to start front-end engineering design work in 2021 for a green liquid hydrogen plant at Townsville.

The company is collaborating with Japanese manufacturer Kawasaki Heavy Industries on the North Queensland project, and they completed a feasibility study this year.

“This project is one of the largest and most advanced hydrogen projects in Australia, with a 300MW electrolyser and the potential to scale up,” Origin general manager of future fuels Felicity Underhill said.

“It will use renewable energy and sustainable water to produce 36 kilotonnes a year of liquid hydrogen for domestic and export markets.”

Ms Underhill said Townsville held tremendous promise for a potential home-grown green hydrogen industry because of its abundance of zero-emissions solar and renewable energy, as well as proximity to export markets in Asia.

Townsville zinc refinery operator Sun Metals Corporation is also working to establish renewable hydrogen production in the area.

Hydrogen will be produced using a 15MW alkaline electrolyser powered by the refinery’s existing 125 MW solar plant under the Sun Metals proposal, with additional power potentially sourced through development of a wind farm.

The electrolyser will have capacity to produce up to 5000kg of hydrogen per day, with the product to be used as a diesel fuel replacement including for heavy vehicles, off-grid remote power generation, and a gas blending trial with LPG within the zinc refinery process.

Origin’s update on plans for a Townsville plant followed its announcement last week that it would conduct a $3.2 million feasibility study into building an export-scale green hydrogen and ammonia plant in Tasmania’s Bell Bay.

It is also collaborating with Jemena on the Western Sydney Green
Gas Project to produce green hydrogen and demonstrate connection across
gas and electricity grids.

“Hydrogen will be one of the key fuels in helping the world decarbonise,” Ms Underhill said.

“It is incredibly versatile and can be used to decarbonise transport, industry and power generation, and in many cases existing plants can be adapted to use it. 

“There is an established hydrogen industry and so there is knowledge and experience available to ensure it is produced and transported safely. 

“We expect customers, many of which will be from countries that heavily rely on coal today, to be a continued driver of progress.”

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Residents living near the Ports of Mackay and Hay Point are encouraged to nominate for a seat on North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation (NQBP) community reference groups (CRGs).

Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert said the CRGs, which have been running for almost 20 years, provided an invaluable link between the port authority and its communities.

“The Port of Mackay and Hay Point are critical to around 22,000 Queensland jobs in mining, agriculture and logistics and facilitate $1.8 billion of trade worldwide,” Mrs Gilbert said.

“The community is a key strategic stakeholder for our ports, so their input is vital. Mackay and Hay Point communities are an integral part of NQBP ports.”

NQBP chief executive officer Nicolas Fertin said the CRGs provided a forum for NQBP and community members to discuss and raise issues relating to port operations and development.

“NQBP CRGs enables members to provide feedback, raise any concerns and to share how we can work together to improve our port communities,” he said.

“I would also like to acknowledge our current CRG members, who volunteered for their time, commitment and passion over the last three years.”

Six positions, including three community representatives, one local marina resident and two recreational group (boating, surfing or fishing) representatives, are available on the Port of Mackay CRG.

Eight positions are available for community representatives and interest group representatives on the Port of Hay Point CRG.

Nominations close 5pm Friday January 29, 2021. For more information and to apply, visit NQBP’s website (www.nqbp.com.au) or Mackay office at Level 1, Waterfront Place, Mulherin Drive, Mackay Harbour.

PIC: NQBP chief executive officer Nicolas Fertin is urging people to nominate for port community reference groups.


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Key projects including Greenvale’s $800 million Australia-Singapore Military Training Initiative (ASTMI) facilities and the Ravenswood gold mine expansion will feature at the Townsville Industry Breakfast next month.

The State Government-hosted event on December 8 offers insight into regional supply chain opportunities as well as local innovation and knowledge initiatives.

The line-up announced this week includes:

CPB Contractors: Australia-Singapore Military Training Initiative (ASTMI) facilities project

CPB Contractors have recently been appointed to deliver the development phase for the Australia-Singapore Military Training Initiative (ASTMI) facilities project at Greenvale. 

CPB will provide an overview of the $800 million project and opportunities for local participation.

Sun Metals innovation program

This program is introducing cutting edge technology to automate safety-critical processes and an artificial intelligence solution to automate data and improve decision-making.

James Cook University’s Townsville Major Capital Works program

James Cook University (JCU) is focused on achieving a ‘magnetic place’, where campuses encourage student engagement and immersion into the learning experience and where industry and community feel welcome. This presentation covers JCU’s Major Capital Works program and the projects on the horizon that will shape the Townsville campus for years to come.

Ravenswood Gold mine expansion

About 150 contractors are expected to be employed in the next few months for this project, as well as an additional 250 operations and maintenance employees.

Origin Energy’s hydrogen strategy

Origin Energy has been exploring how hydrogen might best fit into Australia and the world’s decarbonisation ambitions. Origin will present the case for hydrogen and how a joint ecosystem can work together to get the best outcome for Queensland.

AusIndustry: Manufacturing Modernisation Fund

The Australian Government’s Manufacturing Modernisation Fund (MMF) aims to fast track capital investment in manufacturing to help businesses transform their manufacturing process and support job growth and a more highly skilled workforce. The MMF’s $52.8 million second round is due to open soon to local businesses.

Townsville Industry Breakfast partner AusIndustry will outline funding support available to local businesses under this scheme.

  • The event will be held from 7am on December 8 at The Ville Resort Pavilion. Ticket sales close 5pm, Thursday, December 3. Registration details HERE
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Strategic planning and innovation helped BHP supply chains weather the chaos caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the company’s group procurement officer.

In a virtual speech to the International Mining and Resources Conference on Tuesday, Sundeep Singh said productive relationships built with suppliers had allowed BHP to continue to operate during the unprecedented crisis.

“We knew our partnerships were going to be a key differentiator for shared business value, but the way that came to life through COVID-19 was so much more amplified than anything we could have expected,” Mr Singh said.

“So many of you answered that call to arms, you stepped into that space and showed us not only how to survive but we came out of it better and stronger – more resilient.”

Mr Singh said COVID-19 was only the latest crisis to test the strength of BHP’s supply chains, and lessons learned would be carried into the future to ensure the company retained a competitive edge.

“Supply chains have had to withstand massive market change, rising trade tensions, disruptive technologies, the effects of climate change and now COVID-19,” he said.

“These challenges have really showed us that supply chains not only need to be cost-effective and reliable, but truly resilient and sustainable.”

Mr Singh said navigating issues like COVID-19 and its dramatic impact meant looking at new ways around how supply chains could work best.

“Navigating these complexities to thrive in a new normal requires us to rethink our supply chain, to build a supply chain that can actually adapt and remain agile, all the while remaining safe, removing waste and pulling cost out,” he said.

Mr Singh said BHP’s partnership with Compass, which provides facilities management support for its Australian operations, was a perfect example of working together during a crisis.

“Our partnership with Compass was critical during COVID-19,” he said.

“We could not have done this successfully with a transactional approach.

“Instead, partnership led Compass through this time, and through this difficult year, to build a facility in Perth known as “The Academy”.

“The Academy includes a training kitchen, juice and barista training stations and simulation accommodation rooms.   

“The benefit is twofold: our BHP residents benefit from the higher standards and the skills of the Compass staff to manage this new COVID normal.

“Compass benefits via improved customer satisfaction, but also the ability to train their people more broadly, for roles outside of BHP. 

“We now have a continued safe flow of people and a better experience for our workforce on site.”

Mr Singh said the COVID-19 experience had shown what could be achieved when organisations worker together.

“Through real partnerships we have shown how resilient our businesses can be when faced with challenges that were previously unthinkable,” he said.


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