Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has allocated $103 million to three green hydrogen pilot projects in a bid to kickstart the industry. Of the three projects, two are located in Western Australia and are currently being developed by Engie Renewables Australia and ATCO Australia. The third project, located in Victoria, is being developed by the Australian Gas Networks (AGN) Limited.
Engie’s project received a $42.5 million grant that will see renewable hydrogen used to produce ammonia for export in the Pilbara region. Further, ATCO received a $28.7 million grant and AGN projects received a $28.7 million grant. These projects will use renewable energy to produce hydrogen for gas blending into the existing natural gas pipelines. The projects are expected to create more than 210 jobs during construction. The National Hydrogen Strategy forecasts that the Australian hydrogen industry could generate about 8000 jobs and $11 billion a year in GDP by 2050.
Companies like BHP, Woodside Petroleum, and Macquarie Corporate Holdings had also applied for the ARENA funding but failed to secure it. BHP had sought support for a project within its Nickel West division, while Woodside sought funding to back its H2TAS renewable hydrogen venture with Countrywide Renewable Energy in Tasmania
With the ability to produce hydrogen using an electrolyser powered by renewable electricity, green hydrogen technology is being touted as a potential zero-emissions fuel and energy storage medium. Predictions suggest that green hydrogen could become a multi-billion dollar export opportunity for Australia.