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Australia Hydrogen Energy Plans

The Australian Federal and State Governments are pursuing hydrogen fuel and power projects. 

The Australian Government has identified hydrogen as a potential fuel capable of reducing emissions and is seeking to build a Hydrogen Energy Industry.  In November 2019 the CoAG Energy Council released the National Hydrogen Strategy with the aim of removing market barriers and building supply and demand.  In March 2020 the Council established a team to implement the strategy.  One of the Team’s focus has been on international collaboration. 

Key international developments have included: a letter of intent to develop a Hydrogen Action Plan signed by Australia and Korea; a Joint Statement on Cooperation on Hydrogen and Fuel Cells signed by Australia and Japan; a MoU on low emissions to be pursued by Australia and Singapore; Australia becoming a member of the U.S. Center for Hydrogen Safety; and a Joint Declaration on a Hydrogen from renewables feasibility study signed by Australia and Germany.

As part of the national strategy, the government is looking at introducing hydrogen to the gas distribution network. Currently, hydrogen can be added to gas pipelines at concentrations of up to 10 per cent to supplement gas supplies, and a number of trials are being explored. Jemena’s Power to Gas Trial, co-funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), will generate green hydrogen and inject a small percentage (less than 2 per cent by volume) into part of its gas distribution network.  State governments have also announced initiatives. 

ARENA is also supporting a number of other demonstration scale renewable hydrogen projects, and 16 research projects. This support includes a pilot project in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley is demonstrating the full hydrogen supply chain, from production through to export to Japan. The four year project uses a world first purpose-built liquefied hydrogen carrier, and is the world’s largest hydrogen demonstration project. The largest commercial green hydrogen project currently proposed for Australia is a 15 GW wind and solar project in the Pilbara in Western Australia. Up to 3 GW would be dedicated to large energy users in the region, such as mines and mineral processing facilities, while 12 GW would be used to produce green hydrogen for domestic and export markets. Construction is forecast to commence in 2023–24, with first generation in 2025–26.

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