Activity in the clean hydrogen sector is “surging” globally, fuelled by maturing policies and early commercial-scale projects, including here in Australia, according to international energy consultancy Rystad Energy.
Artem Abramov, head of clean tech research at Rystad, said he expects hydrogen projects will take off in 2024 driven by large-scale projects in Australia as well as the Middle East and Africa, along with maturing policies in Europe and the United States.
“2024 promises more than just momentum, it’s a year of clarity,” he said, noting that several key feasibility studies are to be completed, which he expects will reveal promising new use cases for hydrogen consumption.
Abramov also said a series of global auctions and grants will be rolled out, providing essential insights into key aspects of the emerging clean hydrogen sector.
“These events will shed light on pricing dynamics, technological advancements and the eventual victors and contenders in this transformative landscape,” he said.
Rystad’s forecast comes just weeks after the International Energy Agency (IEA) delivered what it described as a reality check on green hydrogen development, noting that despite announcements on plenty of new projects, progress in realising them has been slow.
In the latest edition of its annual Renewables market report, the IEA said that more than 360 GW of renewable energy-powered electrolyser projects with start dates before 2030 had been announced but only 3% of these had reached financial close or started construction.
Rystad expects that there will be fewer clean hydrogen project announcements this year compared to previous years with most of the effort in 2024 to be focused on realising projects.
The consultancy said this marks the start of the learning-by-doing phase for the clean hydrogen economy.
Rystad said any announcements of new projects will be more conservative and of lower risks. This will continue the trend that was seen in 2023, where only 17.6 million tonnes of hydrogen were announced, following the 30 million tonnes announced in 2022.
Abramov’s positive outlook for green hydrogen is part of Rystad’s look at what’s in store for the energy sector in 2024.
Last year was a pivotal one for the energy world with the latest figures from the IEA indicating that global renewables capacity grew by 50%, reaching almost 510 GW, with PV accounting for three-quarters of the additions.
Rystad’s head of Renewables and Power Research, Carlos Torres Diaz, said the coming year will be another rollercoaster ride for the industry, with elections, supply chain issues and the maturation of nascent industries all on the cards.
“This year is expected to be another record breaker for the solar and wind markets, adding more than 510 GW of solar PV and wind capacity globally,” he said. “The resulting new generation from these sources, more than 900 TWh, will be enough to cover most of the growth in demand, helping limit the need for fossil-fuelled power generation. “
Diaz did caution that while capacity will continue to grow, governments need to put in place the right incentives for renewable energy projects to ensure the momentum continues.
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