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States scramble to grab a part of the $11 trillion hydrogen economy

States Cramble

The government-owned Stanwell Corporation has thrown its hat into the ring with a joint venture project in Gladstone with Iwatani Corporation. It came just days after Origin Energy announced it was teaming up with Kawasaki Heavy Industries in Townsville.

But Victoria has already moved. It is developing a lignite-based hydrogen project estimated at $500 million. The Victorian Government has thrown $100 million at it. In South Australia, $240 million is being thrown at a green hydrogen plant.

In Western Australia, there is a plan for a 5000 megawatt project powered by wind and solar. It’s being driven by Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and Hydrogen Renewables Australia. Its capital cost is expected to be somewhere north of $10 billion.

In China, which produces about 25 per cent of the world’s emissions, Sinopec is spending $US13 billion to develop its own hydrogen and analysts estimate that China’s energy transition targets over the next thirty years would cost $US6.5 trillion.

The Tasmanian Government is investing $2.6 million in three large-scale renewable hydrogen feasibility studies as part of its $50 million Renewable Hydrogen Industry Development Funding Program.

Queensland is opting for green hydrogen as opposed to Victoria’s lignite model which has problems in dealing with how to bury its CO2. In Townsville, Origin is planning to use what it calls “sustainable water” along with renewable energy. Sustainable water could be its CSG waste water produced in huge quantities in its Queensland gas operations.

The Queensland strategy is based on the fact that South Korea and Japan are developing their economies to become hydrogen dependent. Both countries already buy huge quantities of coal and gas from Australia.

Both Queensland projects are pursuing green hydrogen, a product that promises emission-free energy but is still uncommercial and likely to stay that way for probably a decade. There is an expectation that hydrogen has to below $2 a kilogram before it is commercial.

Stanwell is talking about evolving its business model, which is heavily concentrated in fossil fuel energy.

Stanwell chief executive Richard Van Breda said the consortium’s goal is to move towards a bankable feasibility study and front end engineering design and has already completed a concept study.

The concept study found 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,” Van Breda 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.

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Two green bridges underway, Brisbane City Council seeks feedback on two more

Construction on two green bridges linking Brisbane’s inner-city suburbs is slated to begin this year, but the location of three other planned bridges remains unclear.

In 2019, Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner made a $550 million pledge to build five new green bridges, catering for pedestrians and cyclists, to reduce vehicle traffic and improve the city’s connectivity.

At Tuesday’s public and active transport committee meeting, Brisbane City councillors were given an update on the progress of the green bridges program.

Public and active transport committee chairman Ryan Murphy told the committee the council wanted state or federal funding support alongside the $550 million already committed.

The $190 million Kangaroo Point green bridge will be 470 metres long and 6.8 metres wide, with separated cycling and pedestrian lanes, linking the inner-city suburb with the City Botanic Gardens.

Construction on the Kangaroo Point and Breakfast Creek bridges will begin this year, with the council now out to tender for both.

Consultation for two West End bridges

Community consultation on the bridges from West End to St Lucia and West End to Toowong was extended following concerns the December-January consultation was too short.

For the West End bridges, suggested locations put forward by Brisbane City Council would either place the landing pads on public parks, such as Orleigh Park in West End and Guyatt Park in St Lucia, or on private property.

Two green bridges

A concept image for the St Lucia to West End green bridge(Supplied: Brisbane City Council)

Greens councillor Jonathan Sri, in whose ward both West End bridges would sit, said it appeared the third option for the St Lucia bridge — between Keith Street in St Lucia and Boundary Street in West End — was most supported.

“I’ve heard from several residents who’ve said they think the Option C location for the St Lucia bridge is preferable from a transport perspective, but they have concerns about the scale and design of the exact alignment proposed by council, and the associated home resumptions,” Cr Sri said.

“The vast majority of residents seem to prefer alignment Option A for the Toowong Bridge, and it seems like the Toowong bridge in general has a lot more support.”

Two green bridges

A concept image for the Toowong to West End landing pad for a green bridge(Supplied: Brisbane City Council)

Option A for the Toowong bridge would see the bridge land at 600 Coronation Drive — the former ABC Towoong site now owned by developers Sunland, but put up for sale late last year.

Last year, Cr Schrinner ruled out purchasing the 600 Coronation Drive site saying the cost would be prohibitive, but said the council would consider resuming a portion of the land for a green bridge if needed.

LNP councillor James Mackay, in whose ward of Walter-Taylor the two bridges would land, recently spoke at a rally for a group opposed to a possible Guyatt Park alignment for the St Lucia to West End Bridge.

Cr Mackay referred queries about his community’s opinions to the lord mayor’s office.

Fifth green bridge site unknown

In mid-2020 a fifth proposed bridge, from Belbowrie to Wacol, was scrapped after several rounds of community consultation found little support.

The council is preparing options for a fifth bridge location, the committee heard.

Two green bridges

A concept image of the Breakfast Creek green bridge linking Kingsford Smith Drive and Newstead House(Supplied: Brisbane City Council)

Deputy Labor leader Kara Cook in a statement said she had lodged a petition with more than a thousand signatures calling for a bridge on the eastern side of the river.

Cr Cook said a bridge in her area — around Bulimba and Hawthorne connecting across to New Farm or Teneriffe — had been mooted since at least 1925.

Technical challenges are greater for the eastern section of the river as any new bridge must be of a height to allow ships through and would span a wider section of water.


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Much more than just a train station: Meet Brisbane’s new ‘Grand Central

Brisbane's new Grand Central

A new “Grand Central” precinct to replace the demolition site at Brisbane’s Roma St station is set to boast a world-class sports and entertainment centre, public plazas and bars, and even a retirement home.

More details have emerged of Queensland’s biggest infrastructure venture, the $5.4 billion Cross River Rail project, with the release of a proposed development scheme for the redeveloped Roma Street station complex.

The scheme answers questions on the design and operation of the new station, other uses associated with the complex and how it will incorporate the much-vaunted Brisbane Live entertainment arena.

The new complex, due to be completed around 2025, will be built around existing heritage places, new public spaces, and parkland, with the development scheme proposing some surprise elements like retirement and residential care facilities.

The Cross River Rail Authority is expecting that over the next 15 years there will be nearly 4200 new residents and more than 19,700 new workers within the 32 hectare Roma Street priority development area, bounded roughly by Wickham Terrace, North Quay and College Rd.

The scheme states that the area will act as a place of transition between the “tall towers” dominance of the CBD and “lower scale campus-style towers that interface to surrounding neighbourhoods and Roma Street Parkland”.

The project centres around a new underground station dubbed “Grand Central”, connecting passengers with existing suburban bus and rail networks and the Brisbane City Council’s Brisbane Metro, as well as regional and interstate bus and train services.

It envisages development across three precincts – a station plaza, a major sport and recreation facility (Brisbane Live) and a city centre transition precinct.

The Roma Street redevelopment focus will be on becoming the key arrival destination for the central CBD, and the western gateway to the city’s premier cultural, leisure
and entertainment venues.

It will also aim to improve the public realm and active transport connections to encourage pedestrian movement and connections and big upgrades to rail and bus interchanges, including a realignment of the Inner Northern Busway.

“Development in the Roma Street CRR PDA will better connect and unify the area with the city centre, Spring Hill, Petrie Terrace and South Brisbane neighbourhoods and associated facilities including Suncorp Stadium, Roma Street Parkland and the Queensland Cultural Centre,” the draft development scheme states.

“Active street frontages, a range of safe and inviting public spaces and permeable, accessible connections for pedestrians and cyclists will be delivered.”

The public will have until April 1 to make submissions on the proposed development scheme before the state government decides whether to approve it.

The scheme will then replace the existing interim land use plan currently governing the Roma Street PDA.


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Luxury Brands Sign Up to $3.6bn Queen’s Wharf

Luxury Brands

Brisbane’s appetite for luxury brands will be satisfied after the Destination Brisbane Consortium signed a deal with retail giant DFS.

More than 100 prestigious brands have signed up to join the “shopping haven” at Queen’s Wharf development, including Louis Vuitton. The George St Printery will be transformed into a three-level T Galleria emporium, along with 16 stand-alone stores across 6000 square metres.

“DFS’ approach has always been to create destinations within destinations—we choose locations where our customers want to visit and then create stores of a quality and richness that elevate the local retail offering to a world-class level,” DFS chief executive Benjamin Vuchot said.

“We’re delighted to join Queen’s Wharf Brisbane’s multitude of attractions and look forward to welcoming our global traveling customers to this exciting city in the future.”

The luxury shopping galleria will open in late 2022 as part of a staged development process.

Luxury Brand

▲Queen’s Wharf will a shopping haven with the inclusion of luxury brands group DFS joining the precinct. Image: Destination Brisbane Consortium

Deputy premier Steven Miles said the $3.6 billion Queen’s Wharf development would deliver thousands of construction jobs.

“The development will feature 50 bars, cafes and restaurants, a casino, four world-class hotels, up to 2,000 residential apartments, the Sky Deck, moonlight cinema, the Neville Bonner Bridge and now around 6,000m2 of luxury retail floorspace,” Miles said.

Star Entertainment Group chief executive Matt Bekier said the ground-breaking deal would further underpin Queen’s Wharf as Australia’s future international tourism and leisure hotspot.

“The hallmark of a world-class integrated resort is its diversity and quality of offerings,” Bekier said.

“Queen’s Wharf will have a rich collection of attractions – including the DFS luxury retail precinct—to keep locals, interstate and international visitors coming back time and time again.”

YPM group director Bryce O’Connor said the Cottee Parker-designed development had attracted an “unprecedented” level of inquiries and sales. Almost all of the 667 apartments on offer have been snapped up, since going to market in March last year.

Buyers have included young inner-city professionals looking for a new lifestyle destination close to work, as well as downsizers looking to take advantage of all the amenity.


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