Hydrogen: one step closer to export
A Renewable Hydrogen Strategy to position Western Australian as a major producer and exporter has been established along with a $10 million Renewable Hydrogen Fund to facilitate private sector investment in the industry.
"Hydrogen is a means to export our world-class solar and wind resources,” said WA’s Regional Development Minister, Alannah MacTiernan, “[it will help] our international trading partners to meet their emissions reduction goals, as well as support our industries to transition to a lower carbon future and drive a new job-creating industry for our State.”
The move by WA is timely, with the International Energy Agency report The Future of Hydrogen concluding the time is ripe to scale up technologies and bring down costs to allow hydrogen to become widely used and that “pragmatic and actionable recommendations to governments and industry that are provided will make it possible to take full advantage of this increasing momentum”.
Clean hydrogen which is derived from renewable energy is currently enjoying “unprecedented political and business momentum” as illustrated by the rapid escalation in number of policies and projects around the world.
The IEA also emphasises the vital role of hydrogen in tackling various critical energy challenges and in decarbonising a range of sectors such as long-haul transport, chemicals, and iron and steel, mindful of global energy-related CO2 emissions reaching an all time high in 2018.
Western Australia’s credentials put the state in pole position. The region’s enormous land mass and considerable energy sources, existing energy export capabilities and proximity to key markets in Asia such as Japan and Korea which have signalled a shift towards low emissions hydrogen for the future puts the state at a natural advantage.
The WA State strategy sets out four strategic focus areas: Export; Applications in remotely located industries; Hydrogen blending in natural gas networks; and Transport using fuel cell electric vehicles.
To progress its ambitions the WA Government has established a dedicated unit to co-ordinate the State's work on growing the hydrogen industry.
The announcement coincided with the unveiling of the ATCO (Western Australian gas network operator) Clean Energy Innovation Hub, whose objective is to demonstrate the potential of hydrogen gas to support supply to the domestic market.
According to ATCO, “Our industry-leading Clean Energy Innovation Hub will be a test bed for hybrid energy solutions and will integrate natural gas, solar PV, battery storage and hydrogen production. It will provide valuable insights into how our extensive existing gas distribution infrastructure can continue to benefit customers as part of the future energy mix.”
Read more about the emerging green hydrogen industry in Spring Smart Energy magazine.