21/04/2021 - 14:30

Cash for hydrogen in green tack

21/04/2021 - 14:30

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Five hydrogen hubs will be established across Australia after the federal government promised $539 million for hydrogen and carbon capture.

Cash for hydrogen in green tack
Scott Morrison was in Perth in April. Photo: David Henry

Five hydrogen hubs will be established across Australia after the federal government promised $539 million for hydrogen and carbon capture.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has focused on energy and climate policy in recent days as he prepares for an international summit on carbon emissions.

Last week, Mr Morrison gave a strong hint of his agenda to a Karratha business breakfast, saying he aimed for Australia to be net zero emissions by 2050.

Today, he announced $276 million for four hydrogen hubs across the country, in addition to one announced earlier this year.

It is not clear yet where the hubs will be, with tenders to open within months.

A decision is intended for early next year.

But the Pilbara, Gladstone in Queensland, Bell Bay in Tasmania and the Central Coast in NSW were listed as regions that could make a good case.

“The Central Coast/Hunter, you have Silicon Valley, it could become hydrogen valley,” Mr Morrison said.

He said the hubs would help commercialise and scale hydrogen technology, which would drive down the cost of supply.

The government also promised $264 million for carbon capture and storage projects and hubs.

Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association chief executive Andrew McConville supported the announcement, and said oil and gas businesses were already developing carbon capture and hydrogen technology.

Low-cost carbon abatement would be crucial to keeping Australia’s competitive position as an energy exporter, he said.

“Our industry works both in Australia and around the world to accelerate the development of low emissions technologies,” Mr McConville said. 

“Just as government investment in renewables has fast tracked projects, this will do the same and create thousands of jobs in the process.

“Natural gas plays a vital role in reducing Australia’s and Asia’s emissions. 

“Australian liquefied natural gas is helping to reduce emissions in importing countries by about 170 million tonnes each year and the commitment to the development of carbon capture and hydrogen solutions will make a further substantial contribution.

“Natural gas is a pathway to a large-scale hydrogen industry.

“Australia’s LNG export success means the Australian upstream oil and gas industry has the technology, expertise, commercial and trade relationships to make, in particular, hydrogen exports a reality.”

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