Labor plans $1b hydrogen investment

The Federal Labor Party is set to outline a $1b contribution to the development of a hydrogen industry if elected.

According to The Courier-Mail, Labor leader Bill Shorten has announce a plan to contribute $1 billion in Clean Energy Finance Corporation funding to support hydrogen development, which would include establishing National Hydrogen Innovation Hub in Gladstone, Queensland.

Additionally, $90 million of unallocated funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) would go towards the development of hydrogen technologies, as well as $10 million of ARENA funding for hydrogen refuelling infrastructure across the country.

Energy Networks Australia CEO Andrew Dillon welcomed Labor’s plan, saying hydrogen had massive potential in Australia.

“It [hydrogen] can be produced carbon free from excess renewable energy – during sunny and windy days when generation is high and demand is low – making Australia uniquely placed to develop a hydrogen industry with our abundant solar and wind resources,” he said.

“While the potential for export is enormous, one of the most exciting properties of hydrogen is its potential to serve as a large-scale battery, utilising existing gas networks.”

Mr Dillon said it was important that policies supported the development of the sector, reflecting the contentions of Australia’s Chief Scientist Alan Finkel, who last year said the energy resource could provide thousands of jobs and generate billions of dollars for the economy if properly managed.

“Funding support for research and development, led nationally, that supports the ultimate commercialisation of hydrogen technologies will provide important impetus,” said Mr Dillon.

“Our gas network members are undertaking significant hydrogen related projects throughout Australia, trialling hydrogen in gas networks and for use in domestic appliances.”

Hydrogen projects include Jemena’s Project H2GO, a $15 million trial that will use international technology to convert solar and wind power into hydrogen gas to be stored for use across the gas transmission network in New South Wales.

Jemena’s plan was one of a slew of hydrogen projects announced last year, including the CSIRO and Fortescue’s hydrogen membrane technology and the development of New Zealand’s first hydrogen production and refuelling facility.

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