Published 09-11-2021

Newcastle steps closer to becoming hydrogen industry leader with new study


The Australian Government is considering seriously the prospect of establishing Newcastle as a leader of Australia’s clean hydrogen industry.

Operating through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), the federal government will provide a further $1.5 million to support a $3 million study by Macquarie Group’s Green Investment Group, the Port of Newcastle and others into constructing a hydrogen hub at the Port of Newcastle.

Other partners in the study include Snowy Hydro, Idemitsu, Keolis Downer, Lake Macquarie, Jemena, and project collaborators Macquarie Agriculture and the University of Newcastle. 

The study will consider the best location in the Port for hydrogen infrastructure.

Newcastle is well placed to become a major hydrogen player, both as a local energy provider and as an exporter of clean hydrogen.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the study would identify the region’s current and future potential as a hydrogen hub.

“Newcastle and the Hunter will be a key part of the $1.2 billion we’re investing in Australia’s hydrogen industry,” the Prime Minister said.

“The region has been key to Australia’s energy security and with continuing strong demand for baseload power fuels and the potential as a clean energy hub, Newcastle and the Hunter will be an important part of Australia’s transition under our plan to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

“Newcastle is the biggest port on the east coast, with 50 per cent of its capacity available for future industry development making it a great asset for the region to become one of the seven Clean Hydrogen Industrial Hubs my government is delivering.

“Not only does it have the highly skilled workforce and natural resources to sustain a hydrogen industry, the Port also has existing export routes to the important markets of Japan and Korea.

“We’re committed to developing a world-leading hydrogen industry while providing investment and growth opportunities for our communities like Newcastle and the Hunter.”

Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said the Government was determined to reach the goal of producing clean hydrogen at a competitive price, and this work underway in the Hunter will help Australia to achieve that goal.

“This feasibility study will investigate the deployment of a 40 MW electrolyser, which would be four times bigger than the current largest electrolysers in the world,” Minister Taylor said.

“Producing hydrogen in the Hunter not only provides fantastic export opportunities, but also the chance to grow local industries such as using clean ammonia for domestic fertiliser use. 

“Importantly, Government is partnering with industry, business and researchers to create new economic opportunities and new jobs.

“We expect the future Australian hydrogen industry to directly support more than 16,000 jobs by 2050, plus an additional 13,000 jobs from the construction of related renewable energy infrastructure. Australian hydrogen production for export and domestic use could also generate more than $50 billion in additional GDP by 2050. It’s a win-win.”

The Morrison Government released the National Hydrogen Strategy in 2019, which sets out a vision for Australia to become a major global hydrogen supplier by 2030.

Producing clean hydrogen under $2 a kilogram (‘H2 under 2’) is a priority under the Government’s Technology Investment Roadmap, part of the long-term plan to reach net zero by 2050.

The Government is investing more than $1.2 billion to accelerate the development of an Australian hydrogen industry, including $464 million to develop up to seven Clean Hydrogen Industrial Hubs in regional Australia.

Hydrogen is a flexible, safe, transportable and storable fuel that when used produces no carbon emissions.


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