COAG seeking assistance on hydrogen industry development

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The Council of Australian Governments’ (COAG) Hydrogen Working Group is seeking input to help inform the development of a new clean hydrogen industry.

In December 2018, the COAG Energy Council, led by the Australian Government, commissioned the Chief Scientist to develop a comprehensive and ambitious national strategy for the development of an Australian hydrogen industry – and public consultation opens today.

Resources Minister Matt Canavan said that building a commercial hydrogen industry requires a partnership between industry, the community and governments at all levels.

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“We support new technologies like hydrogen, but there is more work to do to on it – which is why we already working with states through COAG on developing a hydrogen roadmap and are investing in further technology development”, Mr Canavan said.

Energy Minister Angus Taylor said that hydrogen could potentially offer more options for clean energy in the long term while maintaining security, reliability and affordability.

“Australia can be a world leader in hydrogen because of our abundant energy resources and proximity to emerging export markets in North Asia,” Mr Taylor said.

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This inclues $50 million for the world-first Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain project in the La Trobe Valley, Victoria. The first shipment to Japan is expected to be delivered in 2021.

Public feedback will inform the development of a draft strategy, to be publicly released in September 2019.

Energy Networks Australia has welcomed progress towards a National Hydrogen Strategy.

CEO Andrew Dillon said support from both sides of federal politics for hydrogen and its potential as a low or zero-emission energy source to back up renewable power was important to support the transition to a clean energy future.

“Hydrogen can be produced carbon free from excess renewable energy, storing this energy in a clean way for when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind isn’t blowing,” he said.

“As demonstrated in Energy Networks Australia’s Gas Vision 2050 report, hydrogen’s scope is impressive, with potential to widen a customer’s power options, improve and increase renewable generation and even create a new energy export market.

“This technology is already being embraced around the world for domestic and commercial use in gas networks and to fuel passenger and freight trains.”

Mr Dillon said while the potential for export was enormous, one of the most exciting properties of hydrogen was its potential to serve as a large-scale battery, utilising existing gas networks.

“Funding support for research and development, backed by bipartisan national support, will drive the ultimate commercialisation of hydrogen technologies,” he said.

“Energy Networks Australia supported the CSIRO on the National Hydrogen Roadmap and has worked with Chief Scientist Alan Finkel, who is now leading the development of the National Hydrogen Strategy.

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

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