South Australia passes bill to accelerate hydrogen projects

Rendered aerial shot of the SA Government's hydrogen project at Whyalla (bill)
Rendered aerial shot of the SA Government's hydrogen project at Whyalla

South Australia’s landmark Hydrogen and Renewable Energy Bill has passed both Houses of the South Australian Parliament.

The Hydrogen and Renewable Energy Act 2023 is the nation’s first legislative framework designed to provide a coordinated approach to the burgeoning hydrogen and renewable energy industries.

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The new Act will help unlock the state’s pipeline of renewable energy projects, with a current estimated capital development investment of approximately $21 billion.

It streamlines the process for companies wanting to invest in large-scale hydrogen and renewable energy projects in South Australia, bringing issues such as land access, environmental impacts and native title rights into a single regulatory process.

The Act also introduces the concept of release areas where developers and investors can compete to access some of the world’s best wind and solar resources on government-owned land, ensuring the most appropriate projects are selected that address the social, economic and environmental needs of the region and the state.

It also ensures extensive community and landholder consultation is carried out, so that hydrogen and renewable energy projects meets communities’ expectations of responsible development.

Energy and Mining Minister Tom Koutsantonis said, “This is a historic day for South Australia. We’ve passed world-first legislation that is set to transform the state’s economy. Global policymakers will be closely watching what we managed to achieve today.

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“The passage of this Bill through Parliament marks a significant milestone in the state’s energy transition, and in our journey as a leader in the clean energy revolution and the economic opportunities it provides.

“This unique regulatory framework will provide significant opportunities for South Australia to attract and retain high quality investment, confirming us as a global leader in the clean energy transition.”

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