WA prepares for a future in renewable hydrogen
The Western Australian Government recently announced its plan to position the State to become a major producer and exporter of renewable hydrogen, with the release of the Western Australian Renewable Hydrogen Strategy.
The Government supported industry development with a commitment of $10 million in the Renewable Hydrogen Fund to facilitate private sector investment in the renewable hydrogen industry in Western Australia.
The strategy was informed by the Renewable Hydrogen Council, which was convened following the WA Renewable Hydrogen Conference, held in Perth in August 2018.
Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development Director General Ralph Addis, who is a member of the Council, said the State’s vision was to establish WA as a significant producer, exporter, and user of renewable hydrogen.
With many parts of the world transitioning to a low-carbon economy, the demand for Australia’s traditional energy products and exports, like thermal coal and fossil fuels, are predicted to decline. Some of the world’s leading industries are already turning to renewable hydrogen as a possible clean energy source.
Hydrogen offers diverse applications: as an energy carrier; in chemical feedstock; and it has great potential to support decarbonisation of the world’s energy and industrial sectors.
WA is the second largest exporter of liquefied natural gas in the world, and is uniquely placed to become a key participant in the renewable hydrogen industry because it features vast renewable energy sources, including solar and wind. WA also has an extensive land mass, a strong existing energy export sector, and proximity to Asia – its biggest customer.
The strategy outlines four focus areas for investment: export; applications in remote-located industries; hydrogen blending in natural gas networks; and transport. It also complements the work of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Energy Council in developing a National Hydrogen Strategy, led by Australia’s Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel AO.
A dedicated Renewable Hydrogen Unit will be established in the department to administer the Fund, provide a central point of contact, and coordinate the Government’s work on the growing industry, for domestic use and export.