Federal Labor’s $1.1 billion commitment to a hydrogen export industry is a win for the environment, regional communities and job creation so long as it backed by renewable power, the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) says.
Responding to the launch of Labor’s national hydrogen plan, ACF Climate Change Campaigner, Suzanne Harter, said Australia’s virtually limitless solar and wind resources means our country has an extraordinary opportunity to convert renewable energy into green hydrogen to be exported across the world.
“Bill Shorten’s hydrogen investment can be a significant win for the environment, jobs and regional communities like Gladstone,” Ms Harter said.
“Australia has an enormous opportunity to export our virtually limitless wind and solar energy to power-hungry neighbours, particularly across the Asia-Pacific region, through green hydrogen.
“Australia has some of best clean energy resources in the world and the cost of producing hydrogen with renewables has fallen dramatically in recent years, as Chief Scientist Alan Finkel has recognised.
“CSIRO estimates the global market for hydrogen is expected to reach $215 billion by 2022. Several of Australia’s existing trading partners, such as Japan, have made long-term commitments for hydrogen imports.
“But in a world where we must urgently stop climate pollution to limit the damage from global warming, only hydrogen produced from clean energy sources, not polluting coal and gas, is acceptable.
“CSIRO and others have said any hydrogen produced from coal and gas would have to use carbon, capture and storage technologies to be consider low emissions. But despite hundreds of millions of dollars being pumped into capture and storage trials, the technology is still nowhere near commercial in Australia.
“Renewables-based green hydrogen is an industry of the future that can help Australia stop climate change, while tapping into a massive emerging export market. Creating hydrogen from more dirty coal and gas will just fuel more dangerous climate damage.
“The massive opportunity for green hydrogen means Australia’s elected representatives need to keep driving renewable energy construction. We should aim for 100% of our electricity to come from renewable energy as soon as possible, then exceed that for exports.
“To support the technology innovation still needed to help drive this new green hydrogen industry, around $1 billion that has been slashed from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency should be reinstated so ARENA can play a key role.”