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New fund poised to make Australia world leader in hydrogen production

The Federal Government has launched a funding package dedicated to growing an innovative, safe and competitive hydrogen industry in Australia.

Along with the $13.4 million allocated for the co-ordination of the National Hydrogen Strategy, the Government will use the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and Australian Renewable Agency (ARENA) to reserve $370 million in support of new hydrogen projects.

Funding will come from within the existing allocations to the CEFC and to ARENA it was confirmed in a statement.

The CEFC will commit $300 million of concessional finance through a new Advancing Hydrogen Fund and ARENA will provide $70 million to kick-start electrolyser projects.

This package takes the Government’s commitments to the hydrogen industry to over $500 million since 2015.

According to Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, Angus Taylor it was important to give the sector a boost to help Australia realise its high potential for hydrogen production following the release of the National Hydrogen Strategy released.

“The National Hydrogen Strategy maps out the steps we can take to develop a sustainable and commercial hydrogen industry,” he said.

“The Government is backing that in through project investment to promote our outstanding potential as a hydrogen supplier to the world.

“Importantly, hydrogen can play a role in the future energy mix to bring down energy prices, keep the lights on and reduce emissions.”

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan said Australia was positioned to become a major global player by 2030, having the resources and experience to take advantage of increasing global momentum for clean hydrogen.

“There is potential for thousands of new jobs, many in regional areas, and billions of dollars in economic growth between now and 2050, with key energy export markets such as Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan taking action to diversify their energy sources,” he said.

“We can help them do just that. Australia is already one of the world’s largest and most reliable and trusted energy suppliers and hydrogen will be one more energy export we can supply to existing and new markets.

“All levels of government, private industry and the research community will now have the opportunity to help us realise our hydrogen potential and reap rewards for the economy, the community and the environment.”

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said that while the CEFC is already able to invest in hydrogen technologies, the creation of the Advancing Hydrogen Fund sends a clear signal to the market that the Government is committed to investments in hydrogen projects.

“Significant levels of new investment will be needed to successfully commercialise and scale a global hydrogen industry. We believe Australia is well placed to help contribute to the growth of this emerging industry," said Cormann.

“In establishing the Advancing Hydrogen Fund, we are creating the appropriate policy and regulatory settings to drive increased investment in hydrogen.”

Last week the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Energy Council released the National Hydrogen Strategy in Perth.

The Strategy, according to the Federal Government, sets a path for Australia to become a major global player in the hydrogen industry by 2030 through removing market barriers, ensuring regulatory consistency and building international trade partnerships.

The Strategy looks to encourage the creation of ’hydrogen hubs’ – clusters of large-scale domestic demand that will help to establish the skills and investment needed for Australia to develop a globally competitive hydrogen export industry.

The Government has already announced $13.4 million dollars to support the Strategy.

This will include working with all jurisdictions on reviewing regulatory barriers, addressing safety matters through our membership with the US Center for Hydrogen Safety and coordinating a National Hydrogen Infrastructure Assessment.

The Government will also work with other countries to develop the international hydrogen standards and establish trade partnerships.

This national coordination is essential to ensure hydrogen development has a positive influence on energy prices and energy security.

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