Tasmanian hydrogen hub locks in $70 million federal funding boost

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The federal government has struck an agreement with the Tasmanian government to invest $70 million to develop a green hydrogen production hub capable of delivering up to 45,000 tonnes of renewable hydrogen a year at Bell Bay. The total investment in the hub will be at least $300 million with the state government committing $230 million.

Federal Energy Minister Chris Bowen said the investment, first announced in 2022, will support renewable hydrogen production which is vital to Australia’s future as a green energy exporter and green manufacturing nation.

“Investing in an Australian renewable hydrogen industry is investing in Australia’s future to become a renewable energy superpower,” he said. “This hub will provide jobs, support new manufacturing and spur investment in regional Australia as the world decarbonises.”

Tasmanian Energy Minister Nick Duigan said the funding will kick-start the project by financing shared-use infrastructure needed to support hydrogen production and exports at scale such as port facilities, water supply and the electricity network.

“Developing common infrastructure is a key step in bringing on one or more proponents to build the production facilities required to move Tasmania into the green hydrogen and future fuels economy,” he said.

“Bell Bay’s advantages in water, wind and infrastructure mean we are in the box seat to become one of Australia’s first major green hydrogen and future fuel producers.”

Duigan said the next stage will include speaking with proponents in a bid to secure “anchor tenants” for the hub.

Energy majors Fortescue, Woodside and Origin are among the companies that have targeted Bell Bay for projects involving green hydrogen or ammonia. Other Bell Bay aspirants include Countrywide Hydrogen, Line Hydrogen and Australian firm Abel Energy which is working in partnership with Spanish energy giant Iberdrola.

The funding for the Bell Bay Hydrogen Hub is part of more than $500 million in Commonwealth funding for hydrogen hubs in regional centres like Kwinana and the Pilbara in Western Australia, Gladstone and Townsville in Queensland, Port Bonython in South Australia and the Hunter region in New South Wales (NSW).

In addition to the hydrogen hub funding, Bowen also announced a like-for-like investment with the Tasmanian government of $8.3 million each toward energy upgrades for social housing.

The announcement follows a NSW state and federal energy upgrade commitment earlier this week of $206 million for social housing in that state.

More than 1,600 Tasmanian social housing residents are to receive energy upgrades through the Homes Tasmania Energy Efficiency Program.

The rollout of funds is part of the federal government’s $1.7 billion Energy Savings Package, $300 million of which is helping to fund upgrades for up to 60,000 social housing properties across the country.

Author: Ev Foley

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