South Australia government releases Hydrogen Action Plan

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With more than 50% of the state’s energy mix generated through renewable sources, new interconnection and storage technologies such as hydrogen will support South Australia (SA) to meet its 2030 “net 100% renewables” target. A new action plan unveiled on Tuesday sets the stage for making the state a major green hydrogen producer and exporter.

Formally launched at the International Conference on Hydrogen Safety in Adelaide, SA’s Hydrogen Action Plan includes the commitment of over $1 million towards a landmark study to identify optimal locations for renewable hydrogen production and export infrastructure.

“We welcome new industries that build on our natural advantages, such as hydrogen, and believe that it fits well into our state’s burgeoning enterprise culture and start-up sector,” Premier Steven Marshall. “This initiative will drive the export of hydrogen from South Australia both interstate and overseas, bolstering our economy, and presenting future job opportunities.”

The Hydrogen Action Plan seeks to leverage the state’s wind, sun, land, infrastructure and skills with an eye on five main objectives:

  1. Facilitate investments in hydrogen infrastructure
  2. Establish a world-class regulatory framework
  3. Deepen trade relationships and supply capabilities
  4. Foster innovation and workforce skills development
  5. Integrate hydrogen into the state’s energy system

Minister for Energy and Mining, Dan van Holst Pellekaan said the plan builds upon the state’s leading role in hydrogen and renewable energy.“This initiative fits in perfectly with our plan to help deliver more reliable, more affordable and cleaner energy for our state,” said the Minister. “It’s likely that nowhere else in the world is as well positioned as South Australia to produce, consume and export 100% green hydrogen.”

SA’s Plan points out that many of Australia’s trading partners in Asia, including China, South Korea, Japan and Singapore, are looking to develop hydrogen economies and will need to import hydrogen. “Some of our longest-standing and closest trading partners are signalling that they will need hydrogen to make their energy transitions over coming decades, and we want to make the most of that growth opportunity by becoming a hub for the export of renewable energy,” van Holst Pellekaan said.

The strong case for hydrogen has long been known, but reduced costs of solar and wind energy generation combined with technology advancements have created a tipping point  Declaring 2019 a critical year for hydrogen, the International Energy Agency said hydrogen was enjoying unprecedented momentum around the world and could finally be set on a path to fulfill its longstanding potential as a clean energy solution.

With Australia among the countries most favourably placed to turn hydrogen hype into real-world deployment, the Council of Australian Governments Energy Council’s National Hydrogen Strategy Working Group has already identified hydrogen as Australia’s next multi-billion export opportunity. Modelling for the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has forecast Australian hydrogen exports could contribute $1.7 billion and 2,800 jobs to the national economy by 2030.

With the national hydrogen strategy still in the works, states are taking the matter into their own hands. SA has become the third state to launch a green hydrogen initiative. Previously, the Queensland government launched a $19 million sustainable hydrogen strategy, while Western Australia unveiled a renewable hydrogen strategy, opened a $10 million green hydrogen fund and started injecting green hydrogen into gas pipelines.
SA already hosts several major green hydrogen projects including: H2U’s Port Lincoln hydrogen and ammonia supply chain demonstrator,  Neoen’s hydrogen superhub at Crystal Brook Energy Park, Australian Gas Networks’ Hydrogen Park South Australia and University of South Australia’s Renewable Energy Testbed.