The Federal Government is set to add $150 million for a further two locations under its $1.2 billion Clean Hydrogen Industrial Hubs program in an effort to bolster regional economies.
The additional funding will enable the rollout of hydrogen hubs across seven priority regional sites.
The now $464 million grant program provides up to $3 million grants for project consortia to initially progress feasibility and design work, and up to $70 million towards the roll-out of projects.
Seven prospective locations across Australia have been identified and include:
- Bell Bay (Tasmania)
- Darwin (Northern Territory)
- Eyre Peninsula (South Australia)
- Gladstone (Queensland)
- Latrobe Valley (Victoria)
- Hunter Valley (New South Wales)
- Pilbara (Western Australia).
The Australian Hydrogen Council (AHC) has welcomed the investment in the future of hydrogen.
AHC Chief Executive Officer, Dr Fiona Simon, said, “It’s certainly a vote of confidence in the industry and we hope there’s more to come.
“There’s no doubt that Australia has the renewable energy resources, the technical skills and the track record with international partners to become a global hydrogen leader.”
Dr Simon said the decision to increase the number of hubs from five to seven is good news for jobs and getting the industry to scale as hubs drive collaboration and shared benefit.
“Globally, hubs are considered vital to establish scale in clean hydrogen. We now await broader planning and regulatory architecture being put into place to enable hydrogen to reach commercial scale,” Dr Simon said.
Prime Minster Scott Morrison said these hydrogen hubs would create jobs across Australia and fast-track Australia’s push to be a global leader in the new energy economy.
“We are accelerating the development of our Australian hydrogen industry and it is our ambition to produce the cheapest clean hydrogen in the world, transforming our transport, energy, resources and manufacturing sectors,” Mr Morrison said.
“This is good for jobs, good for our environment and contributes to our global effort to reduce emissions through technology not taxes.”
Federal Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, Angus Taylor, said Clean Hydrogen Industrial Hubs will create the domestic demand needed to help the hydrogen industry drive down costs and scale-up production creating new job opportunities for our regions.
“The development of Clean Hydrogen Industrial Hubs would help the emerging industry work towards achieving the stretch goal of hydrogen production at under $2 a kilogram under the government’s Technology Investment Roadmap,” Mr Taylor said.
“Accelerating the commercial deployment of priority low emissions technologies such as hydrogen so they reach cost parity with higher emissions alternatives is critical to Australia’s technology-led approach to reducing emissions.”
Hydrogen hubs, as identified by the National Hydrogen Strategy as a priority measure, will create economies of scale by co-locating hydrogen producers, users and exporters in one location.
The Clean Hydrogen Industrial Hub Grants program will build on the work being done by the Special Adviser on Low Emissions Technology, Dr Alan Finkel, to broker international partnerships and initiatives that will accelerate the deployment of hydrogen and other priority low emissions technologies.
Cooperation on hydrogen forms part of new low emissions partnerships with Germany, Singapore, Japan and the United Kingdom announced in 2021.
While the hydrogen program is open Australia-wide, the seven locations have been identified based on strong interest and activity from industry and each location’s existing capabilities, infrastructure and resources.
Program guidelines are now available at business.gov.au, with applications to open in the coming weeks.
The Hub Implementation Grants round will support Australian industry to roll-out and establish clean hydrogen industrial hub projects in regional Australia, with co-funded grants up to $70 million available.