$70m on offer for renewable hydrogen

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has opened applications for $70 million for two or more large scale renewable hydrogen projects.

The funding, first announced in November 2019, is looking to enable hydrogen to be produced in Australia from renewable energy sources at a competitive price, or ‘H2 under $2’.

The funding hopes to spark the growth of a large-scale domestic hydrogen industry which could both reduce energy costs for Australian manufacturers if the hydrogen is sold locally, or provide a new market for Australian manufacturers, particularly those supplying the oil and gas industry.

Producing hydrogen in Australia is one way that think tanks, such as Beyond Zero Emissions, see the resurgence of a globally competitive Australian manufacturing sector, powered by cost-competitive renewable energy.

The current round of funding goes beyond previous initiatives, said ARENA CEO, Darren Miller.

“With this significant investment we expect to take the sector to the next level. We’ve supported a range of feasibility studies and pilot projects over the past two years, but now we need to start the journey of producing hydrogen at scale,” he said.

Proponents are invited to submit expressions of interest for projects with electrolysers of a minimum of 5MW capacity, and a preference for 10MW or larger. The projects must be powered by renewable electricity, whether directly or through power purchase agreements or large-scale generation certificates.

With cheap, renewabale hydrogen produced locally, Australian manufacturers of ammonia and other chemicals will be able to certify these products as renewable and sustainable. There is also the potential for hydrogen to replace other fuels in energy-intensive manufacturing processes, such as steel making.

“Australia is well placed to become a major renewable hydrogen producer and exporter. We are blessed with some of the world’s best wind and solar resources, a large sparsely populated landmass, and as a major energy and resources exporter, we are already an experienced and trusted trading partner for countries like Japan and South Korea that will be the future hydrogen importers,” said Miller