Argus Media Limited

11/26/2021 | News release | Distributed by Public on 11/25/2021 22:04

Australian green hydrogen gets boost from new law

The prospect of more hydrogen projects in Australia powered from renewable energy sources has received a boost with the passing of legislation in the Australian senate to oversee the development of the country's offshore wind industry.

Australia's southern coastline, where many hydrogen projects are located, has some of the strongest wind resources in the country.

The Offshore Electricity Infrastructure Bill 2021 passed the Australian senate on 25 November, having already passed the lower house of parliament in October and is now passed into law.

"This legislation will accelerate a number of key projects already under development - projects that include the Star of the South, Sun Cable, and the Marinus Link transmission line, which will connect the mainland to Tasmania's Battery of the Nation project," Australian energy minister Angus Taylor said in a statement.

The 2,200MW Star of the South wind project in the Gippsland basin offshore Victoria, which could provide power to the proposed hydrogen hub in the La Trobe Valley in eastern Victoria under Canberra's hydrogen strategy.

Australia is seeking more renewable energy capacity to produce hydrogen, known as green hydrogen, if it comes from renewable sources.

Australia could start producing hydrogen from grid-connected electrolysers in the July 2024-June 2025 fiscal year and could ramp up output enough to meet 17pc of total power demand within five years under a hydrogen superpower scenario, said the operator of Australia's power and gas markets the Australian Energy Market Operator.

Tasmania, which has the lowest greenhouse gas emissions among Australia's six states, has attracted several green hydrogen project developers seeking to gain leverage from the state's renewable energy sector, which generates almost 100pc of the state's power from hydro and wind resources.

Australian independent Woodside Petroleum said earlier this month that it planned to make a final investment decision in 2023 on its proposed H2TAS hydrogen plant at Bell Bay in Tasmania. The initial phase of H2TAS will target 200,000 t/yr of ammonia from hydropower and wind sources for export, as well as hydrogen made from renewable energy for domestic use. The initial phase would have capacity of up to 300MW of electricity, with the project having the potential to scale up to 1,700MW of renewable energy.

The legislation will also the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority and National Offshore Petroleum Titles Administrator act as the regulator and registrar respectively of the offshore wind sector.

By Kevin Morrison