Member for Flynn Ken O’Dowd has welcomed ongoing development of hydrogen in his electorate.
Member for Flynn Ken O’Dowd has welcomed ongoing development of hydrogen in his electorate.

CQ MP backs hydrogen but there’s still a role for coal

AS federal and state governments continue their push towards developing a hydrogen energy industry, a Central Queensland MP has cemented his belief in coal as an ongoing source for baseload power.

Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd has welcomed ongoing development of hydrogen in his electorate following the closing of funding applications from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency last Friday.

A total of 36 expressions of interest representing about $3 billion in projects are vying for financial support from the $70 million Renewable Hydrogen Deployment Funding Round.

"With sites at Moura and Moranbah, along with more being explored over Central Queensland, hydrogen will become an important part of our energy mix," Mr O'Dowd said.

"The Liberal Nationals Government is working hard to invest into new and greener technology for the future of power. Although I still believe that coal will provide us with a solid baseline power, newer and emerging options are coming into play."

His comments come as the Queensland Conservation Council urged the State Government "not to drag their heels" on making plans to replace publicly owned coal-fired power stations.

"It's well beyond time for our politicians to take positive action in the energy arena and replace outdated coal power with cheaper, cleaner renewables," director Louise Matthiesson said.

A statement from the QCC pointed to a report from Schneider Electric that it says highlighted that "Queensland's coal power plants will soon become uneconomic to run, as they are pushed out of the market by cheaper, cleaner, renewable energy".

"The privately owned Gladstone power plant is likely to be the first Queensland coal plant to close earlier than expected, possibly as soon as 2025, according to UBS utilities analyst Tom Allen," the statement said.

The future of the Gladstone Power Station hit the news in March when state Energy Minister Anthony Lynham expressed concern about whether the viability of a new coal plant was based on assumptions on when existing power stations would close.

"In particular, I am concerned about the potential impact on the approximately 250 employees of the privately owned Gladstone Power Station and their families, and the assumptions your report makes about their future," he wrote in a letter to federal counterpart Angus Taylor.

In February the Federal Government announced funding for a $4 million feasibility study into Shine Energy's proposal to build an energy park at Collinsville, including a 1000MW coal-fired power station.