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The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced the six applicants that have been shortlisted for the next stage of the $2 billion Hydrogen Headstart Program.

ARENA said that together, these applicants represent a total electrolyser capacity of more than 3.5GW across various end uses, placing them amongst the largest renewable hydrogen projects in the world.

The shortlisted applicants include:

Applicant: bp Low Carbon Australia Pty Ltd
Project: H2Kwinana
Electrolyser Size (MW): 105
State: Western Australia
End use: Ammonia, Sustainable Aviation Fuel, Minerals processing

Applicant: HIF Asia Pacific Pty Limited
Project: HIF Tasmania eFuel Facility
Electrolyser Size (MW): 144
State: Tasmania
End use: e-Fuels

Applicant: KEPCO Australia Pty Ltd (Korea Electric Power Corporation)
Project: Port of Newcastle Green Hydrogen Project
Electrolyser Size (MW): 750
State: New South Wales
End use: Ammonia

Applicant: Origin Energy Future Fuels Pty Ltd
Project: Hunter Valley Hydrogen Hub
Electrolyser Size (MW): Phase 1 – 50 / Phase 2 – 200
State: New South Wales
End use: Ammonia, Mobility

Applicant: Stanwell Corporation Limited
Project: Central Queensland Hydrogen Project
Electrolyser Size (MW): 720
State: Queensland
End use: Ammonia

Applicant: Murchison Hydrogen Renewables Pty Ltd as trustee for Murchison Hydrogen Renewables Project Trust
Project: Murchison Hydrogen Renewables Project
Electrolyser Size (MW): 1,625
State: Western Australia
End use: Ammonia

These applicants are developing projects that involve deploying large-scale electrolysers of at least 50MW in size, making a significant and faster impact on implementing a new renewable hydrogen industry. The shortlisted applicants are developing projects in Queensland, New South Wales, Tasmania and Western Australia.

Announced in the 2023–24 budget, the Hydrogen Headstart Program aims to catalyse Australia’s hydrogen industry to take advantage of Australia’s opportunity to be a global hydrogen leader.

Under the program, projects seeking to produce renewable hydrogen or derivatives, such as renewable ammonia or methanol, at scale can apply for a production credit delivered over ten years to bridge the commercial gap between the cost of producing renewable hydrogen and the market price.

Hydrogen Headstart is designed to boost confidence in the emerging renewable hydrogen industry, sending a strong signal that Australia is an attractive investment destination for renewable hydrogen production and associated infrastructure for end use cases.

ARENA CEO, Darren Miller, said that the strong interest in the program indicates that project developers are gaining confidence in Australia’s potential to host this important new industry.

“Hydrogen Headstart is a crucial step towards keeping Australia on the path to become a global hydrogen leader, creating new export opportunities, while helping to decarbonise our economy,” Mr Miller said. 

“The applicants shortlisted for the next stage provide us with the best opportunity at fast tracking our renewable hydrogen industry. It’s great to see the commitment from Australian companies who are looking to invest in and utilise hydrogen in their own decarbonisation efforts.” 

Hydrogen Headstart builds on ARENA’s previous commitments of a total of more than $315 million to 48 renewable hydrogen projects since 2017.

This funding is in addition to the more than half a billion dollars of Federal Government funding administered by the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water for regional hydrogen hubs in places such as the Hunter, Gladstone and the Spencer Gulf.

Support for renewable hydrogen spans early-stage research and development projects through to first-of-a-kind deployments including hydrogen refuelling and hydrogen vehicles, hydrogen for producing renewable ammonia, hydrogen for use in alumina refining and remote power.

ARENA said that it was impressed by the overall strength of applications to the program and that it believes this forms an encouraging base for the industry to grow from in the future.

“ARENA has long supported an Australian renewable hydrogen industry. Hydrogen Headstart is the logical continuation of our work, providing further funding to support the acceleration of renewable hydrogen,” Mr Miller said.

Federal Minister for Climate Change and Energy, Chris Bowen, said that renewable hydrogen is crucial to reach net zero, while creating economic opportunities for regional Australia.”

“We have the largest pipeline of renewable hydrogen projects in the world – Hydrogen Headstart is about supporting these projects to become a reality, as Australia transforms into a renewable energy superpower,” Mr Bowen said. 

Shortlisted applicants have until 27 June 2024 to submit their full application. The Federal Government intends to announce funding recipients in late 2024.

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