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13 May 2020

Federal Government establishes $300 million fund to advance Australian hydrogen production

The Federal Government last week announced it was backing Australia to become a world leader in hydrogen production and exports by establishing the $300 million Advancing Hydrogen Fund.

The Federal Government last week announced it was backing Australia to become a world leader in hydrogen production and exports by establishing the $300 million Advancing Hydrogen Fund.

The Advancing Hydrogen Fund will be dedicated to providing concessional finance for projects that boost Australia’s hydrogen production, develop export and domestic supply chains, establish hydrogen hubs and build domestic demand for this alternative energy.

Administered by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), the goal of the Fund will be to position Australia as a world leader in hydrogen export and production.

Strategy at state and federal levels

In an article published late last year, we discussed the economic, environmental and social benefits of hydrogen fuel and how well-placed Queensland was to embrace hydrogen technology. The Queensland Government has already demonstrated its commitment to the State’s production of this renewable energy source through the release of the Queensland Hydrogen Industry Strategy 2019-2024 outlining plans for investment into the hydrogen industry.

The announcement of the national Advancing Hydrogen Fund on 4 May further demonstrates the traction hydrogen fuel is gaining in Australia’s alternative energy industry, both as a local energy source and an exportable commodity. The joint statement made by the Minister for Energy, Angus Taylor, and the Minister for Finance, Mathias Cormann, confirmed that the Fund would support the work of innovative Australian organisations working to advance hydrogen technology.

The Fund, along with the $70 million in funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) through the Renewable Hydrogen Deployment Funding Round, constitutes one of the largest government commitments to the hydrogen sector in the world.

This commitment is part of Australia’s National Hydrogen Strategy, agreed by the COAG Energy Council in November 2019 and which sets out a path to build the nation’s hydrogen industry into a global export industry by 2030. Specifically, the Government has set an economic goal for producing hydrogen at under $2 a kilogram, being the point at which this energy source becomes competitive with other alternative energy sources already in large scale deployment across the country. One of the goals the Fund aims to achieve is driving down the cost of new hydrogen technologies to achieve this price point.

Australia’s hydrogen potential

Australia, through its vast natural resources and transferable industry experience, has the potential to become a world leader in hydrogen development and production. However, success in this globally competitive industry is not assured.

The establishment of the Fund, together with other recent initiatives, is representative of the commitment at both state and federal levels of government to ambitiously support the local alternative energy sector, so that Australia’s seat at the table in the alternative clean energy transition is not left to chance.

Cooper Grace Ward has taken a lead role in advising participants in hydrogen-based and other alternative energy projects, which has given us significant insight into the sector. Please contact Andrew Corkhill if you would like any further information on this hydrogen funding announcement.

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This publication is for information only and is not legal advice. You should obtain advice that is specific to your circumstances and not rely on this publication as legal advice. If there are any issues you would like us to advise you on arising from this publication, please let us know.

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