In response to the Federal Government’s review of the National Hydrogen Strategy (NHS), the Australian Hydrogen Council (AHC) has offered a position paper detailing 53 recommendations and supplementary reports to inform a path forward. 

The paper forms AHC’s response to the consultation paper released by the Department of Climate Change Energy Environment and Water on the Refreshed NHS published on 7 July 2023.

The AHC said much has changed since the original strategy from 2019. The effects of the pandemic and the war in Ukraine have forced a reassessment of how nations consider the strategic overlaps between decarbonisation, national security, and self-sufficiency. Australia has also had a change of government, with a new approach to climate change and net zero.

As a fundamental outcome of these factors, the AHC said the US Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) – also a response to these global issues – requires a form of policy response to ensure Australia can continue to attract capital in a competitive environment. Australia cannot match the IRA in terms of the quantity of support, but a targeted policy and funding approach is needed.

AHC CEO, Dr Fiona Simon, said that all of this is much larger than the question of hydrogen. 

“However, clean and green hydrogen has a key role to play to decarbonise key sectors of the Australian economy, to support the decarbonisation of our trading partners’ economies, and to support our own fuel self-sufficiency,” Ms Simon said. 

“The lessons learned since 2019 have only amplified the need to focus our attention on how we can best effect the energy transition for Australia.”           

The AHC said that the revised National Hydrogen Strategy must be viewed as a key element of the Australian Government’s net zero strategy, given that hydrogen is itself the means to decarbonise the parts of the Australian economy that are difficult to decarbonise with electricity and storage alone.       

The AHC said that significant planning and coordination is required at a national level to meet its objectives including:

  • Tasking stewardship of the NHS to the Net Zero Economy Agency
  • Setting priorities and targets, based on robust analysis
  • Committing to planning and financial support for shared physical and social infrastructure, including via Hydrogen Economic Zones 
  • Building scale and capability in the sectors and applications that will be hard to abate 
  • Keeping export options open
  • De-risking projects through public finance

The AHC said that the refreshed National Hydrogen Strategy needs to address all of the above issues and clearly recognise the role for government to lead.

It also said that it is imperative that this strategy provides a basis for actions to meet targets and milestones and to allocate responsibility. Detailed implementation plans may need to be by sector or ecosystem element but should be outlined in an overall plan to set expectations.

“Given hydrogen is our critical industrial solution, this is too important to be left to chance, or to the whims, complexities, and uncertainties of a nascent market,” Dr Simon said.

To view the full report, click here.

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