The Tasmanian government is hoping to position the state as the leading producer of affordable renewable hydrogen, announcing a $50 million Tasmanian Renewable Hydrogen Action Plan, to grow the industry over the next 10 years.
The Tasmanian Gutwein government is offering $50 million in incentives to support private-sector investment in large-scale renewable hydrogen production facilities and hopes that it will kick-start new industries that will create hundreds of jobs and bring significant new investment to the state.
As part of a Renewable Hydrogen Action Plan unveiled by Tasmanian premier Peter Gutwein on Monday, $20 million will be allocated to a Tasmanian Renewable Energy Fund to support new projects in the state that could ultimately lead to the export of renewable hydrogen by 2030.
“To kick-start the renewable hydrogen industry in Tasmania, we will invest $20 million through a Tasmanian Renewable Hydrogen Fund, provide up to $20 million in concessional loans and up to $10 million in support services which include competitive electricity supply arrangements and payroll tax relief,” Tasmanian premier Peter Gutwein said.
“Our vision is to have a renewable hydrogen generation facility up and running in Tasmania by 2022-2024, and to be commercially exporting hydrogen by 2030, creating hundreds of local jobs and injecting billions into the Tasmanian economy.”
Grant funding will be allocated through a competitive application round, and the Tasmanian government will align its processes with those of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. ARENA will undertake its own $70 million funding round for hydrogen projects, and the Tasmanian government hopes to be able to leverage this to secure for additional funding in Tasmania.
“Our Plan will deliver renewable hydrogen projects in Tasmania which leverage our renewable energy advantages, provide benefits for Tasmanians and position us to take advantage of the emerging renewable hydrogen future,” Gutwein added.
Most of Tasmania’s electricity generation is sourced from the state’s extensive hydroelectricity system, along with a growing supply of wind generation. The state also has access to some of Australia’s best wind resources and creates the potential for Tasmania to serve as a provider of renewable electricity to mainland Australia.
Under the Renewable Hydrogen Action Plan, the state government is targeting an initial development of a 100MW hydrogen production facility, with high potential sites at Bell Bay and Burnie being identified with the potential of ultimately growing to a 1,000MW production facility.
“The Plan indicates that a 1,000 megawatt renewable hydrogen facility, approximately enough power for 1 million households, would create an estimated 1,000 – 1,200 local jobs, and support a further 2,000 megawatts of renewable energy investment in our State,” Tasmanian energy minister Guy Barnett said.
“The Plan identified both the Bell Bay Advanced Manufacturing Zone and Burnie are ideally suited to host large-scale renewable hydrogen production facilities due to strong existing transmission infrastructure, significant water availability, road and rail infrastructure, a highly skilled and innovative workforce, and world-class educational and research institutions.”
“Importantly, with Tasmania a world leader in the production of reliable renewable energy, (wind and hydro power), we have a significant advantage over other states in delivering low-cost renewable hydrogen.”
Tasmania is one of the few remaining jurisdictions were both electricity generators and electricity retailers are both publicly owned, providing the opportunity for the Tasmanian government to offer attractive electricity supply at concessional rates.
Hydro Tasmania, the state-owned utility that supplies most of the state’s power, detailed the potential for low-cost renewable hydrogen production in a paper released last year. The company said that Tasmania is well placed to deliver low-cost renewable hydrogen, and believed the state could undercut producers sourcing electricity from the main grid, as well as projects that proposed to build dedicated supplies of wind and solar.
The Tasmanian government hopes that the plan will be able to attract private investment in a hydrogen production facility that could be up and running within the next couple of years, and the production of renewable hydrogen could be achieved within the state at prices between 15 and 30 per cent lower than mainland Australia.
The proposal stands in contrast to those outlined by federal energy minister Angus Taylor, who embraced the idea of producing hydrogen from fossil fuel resources, as part of a federal government goal to reduce hydrogen costs to below $2 per kilo, in a speech in Sydney on Friday.
To support the increased use of hydrogen fuels to grow demand for hydrogen produced within the State, the Tasmanian government will also consider ways to incorporate hydrogen fuelled buses as part of its public transport network and fuel-cell vehicles within government fleets.
Last week, the 112MW Granville Harbour wind farm in Tasmania’s north-west commenced generation for the first time. The Tasmanian government hopes the project will bring the state closure to being powered completely with 100 per cent renewable electricity.
The pursuit of new ways to distribute excess energy, through additional undersea transmission connections to the Australian mainland or the production of renewable hydrogen for export, provide an opportunity for Tasmania to grow the economic contribution that the state’s ample renewable energy resources provide.
Tasmania has just one large-scale fossil fuelled power station, the 240MW Tamar Valley gas-fired power station located in Bell Bay in the north of the state.