$50 million investment in hydrogen energy production to create hundreds of jobs

Posted: 3rd Mar

Tens of millions of dollars could be invested in a hydrogen energy production facility in Burnie if the Tasmanian government is able to attract private investment to the sector.

A Renewable Hydrogen Action Plan to be announced by Premier Peter Gutwein on Monday will provide $50 million over the next 10 years, potentially creating hundreds of jobs and boosting the local and state economy.

In 2018, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation developed a roadmap for the development of an Australian hydrogen energy industry.

The roadmap said hydrogen is "derived primarily by splitting water or by reacting fossil fuels with steam or controlled amounts of oxygen".

"If produced using low or zero emissions sources, 'clean' hydrogen can enable deep decarbonisation across the energy and industrial sectors."

A government report has identified Burnie and Bell Bay "as being very suitable for this type of development".

The government will commit $20 million through a Tasmanian Renewable Energy Fund and will provide up to $20 million in concessional loans and up to $10 million worth of support including "competitive electricity supply arrangements and payroll tax relief".

Mr Gutwein said the state and the Commonwealth will work to deliver the "renewable hydrogen projects ... [leveraging] existing resources and infrastructure to produce green hydrogen".

"Attributes such as extensive road and rail links, and access to deep-water ports for export at Devonport, Port Latta and Burnie make the North-West perfectly placed to host a renewable hydrogen production industry," Mr Gutwein said.

Energy Minister Guy Barnett said the North-West's "large-scale renewable energy generation and supporting transmission infrastructure" make it well placed for hydrogen energy production.

"New wind farms, pumped hydro schemes and a second transmission interconnector across Bass Strait complement large-scale commercial renewable hydrogen production and export," he said.

"The region also has access to abundant fresh water required to produce commercial scale renewable hydrogen."

Mr Gutwein said he hoped to have a facility "up and running" in Tasmania by 2024 and to be commercially exporting hydrogen domestically and internationally by 2030.

"The government believes this new industry has enormous potential as significant investment and jobs will result and we are of the view that facilities could be established at both Burnie and Bell Bay as the plan identifies both as being very suitable for this type of development," he said.

He said a 1000-megawatt facility would create about 1000 local jobs and inject billions into the economy.

He said the investment showed a commitment to "taking real action on climate change".

Source: The Adeviocate - https://www.theadvocate.com.au/story/6655978/gutweins-gas-gamble-50-million-for-hydrogen-energy-production/