South Australia’s Labor opposition party has pledged to build, own and operate a world leading renewable hydrogen power station if it wins the March 2022 state election, in an early and carefully targeted pitch to voters.
South Australia Labor on Tuesday unveiled its Hydrogen Jobs Plan, based around the development of 250MWe capacity of hydrogen electrolysers that would source the state’s excess wind and solar output.
The party would also build a Hydrogen Storage Facility that it says would hold the equivalent of two months’ operation or 3,600 tonnes of renewable hydrogen, providing additional capacity when required.
“Labor will establish Hydrogen Power SA to own and operate the hydrogen power station as a government enterprise on behalf of South Australians,” the statement said.
“Its mandate will be to rejuvenate manufacturing in South Australia by utilising hydrogen and the associated electricity generated to grow new jobs and industries.”
The announcement from South Australia Labor one year out from the 2022 election marks an early pitch in a campaign that is bound to revolve heavily around the state’s world-leading shift to renewable energy.
In a statement accompanying the policy plan, Labor even suggested the new hydrogen facility would reduce the need to remotely switch off rooftop solar, a new power that the Australian Energy Market Operator called into use for the first time a little over a week ago.
SA Labor also cited independent analysis from Frontier Economics that it said has forecast that a government hydrogen plant would reduce the wholesale cost of electricity to industry by 8 per cent.
“Hydrogen is central to the world’s energy future – it’s cleaner, it’s cheaper and South Australia is uniquely positioned to become a world leader, with our abundant wind and solar resources,” said SA Labor leader Peter Malinauskas.
“At the next State election, South Australians will have a choice: we can follow the world on energy policy and see jobs go interstate and offshore, or we can lead the world and bring jobs here.”
Tom Koutsantonis, who was a powerful advocate for renewables during his time as energy minister to former SA Premier Jay Weatherill, said the cheap production of hydrogen was a game changer.
“Its uses are diverse, including manufacturing, firming energy to lower electricity prices, manufacturing green steel, being injected directly into furnaces to offset coal use and use in heavy vehicle and passenger vehicles to lower emissions and lower costs,” the shadow energy minister said.
“We are going to be at the forefront of this because this is where the jobs are, and this is where the future is.”
South Australia’s Liberal government last year named three state hydrogen hubs it expects to result in an “epic” growth in wind and solar capacity in the state, and enable it to become a major energy exporter to the rest of the country and the world.
The Marshall government’s Hydrogen Prospectus forms part of its official renewable energy target of 100 per cent by 2030, and the nominal 500 per cent renewables target that its climate action plan suggests the state could achieve by 2050.