Chapman Valley Shire president Anthony Farrell says he is excited at the prospect of renewable hydrogen industries at Oakajee, which he believes could bring economic benefits to the whole Mid West. He said it would provide employment for people in Chapman Valley and bring more people into the area, but he was unsure if the Oakajee businesses would pay Shire rates. “We don’t want to push the issue that hard,” he said. Shire of Chapman Valley chief executive Maurice Battilana said the new heavy industrial blocks would be leasehold. “A lot of the big ones will be under State Agreements which invariably are rate-exempt, but that’s to be fleshed out yet with the State and the successful proponent,” he said. “We’re taking baby steps at this stage.” They made these comments after Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan called for expressions of interest from firms wanting to produce renewable hydrogen at Oakajee. She said Oakajee would also provide opportunities for other heavy industries to move there as Narngulu reached capacity. “You need some really big projects to give the critical mass that is required to get this under way,” Ms MacTiernan said. “We have numerous proponents approaching us and suggesting that they would be prepared to invest and provide the energy and the water into that precinct. “Some people have expressed to us that they want to start their project at Narngulu, but ultimately because of the scale they require, would want to move to Oakajee.” Curtin University sustainability Professor Peter Newman said Oakajee’s proximity to a port, industrial city, roads, rail and sources of ore meant it was ideally situated for a renewable hydrogen industry. He recently published a paper with UWA Robotics Professor Thomas Braunl and Queensland University research fellow Jake Whitehead. They said the renewable hydrogen would not be used to fuel cars and trucks as it was currently much more expensive than electric power. However, they said it would be ideal for heavy industries such as steel and aluminium refineries and Portland cement manufacturing.