Renewable hydrogen boost: ARENA funding announced

Wednesday, 05 May, 2021

Renewable hydrogen boost: ARENA funding announced

On behalf of the Australian Government, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced that it has conditionally approved $103.3 million towards three commercial-scale renewable hydrogen projects, as part of its Renewable Hydrogen Deployment Funding Round.

The three successful projects are:

  • Engie Renewables Australia Pty Ltd (Engie): ARENA will provide up to $42.5 million towards a 10 MW electrolyser project to produce renewable hydrogen in a consortium with Yara Pilbara Fertilisers at the existing ammonia facility in Karratha, Western Australia.
  • ATCO Australia Pty Ltd (ATCO): ARENA will provide up to $28.7 million towards a 10 MW electrolyser forgas blending at ATCO’s Clean Energy Innovation Park (CEIP) in Warradarge, Western Australia.
  • Australian Gas Networks Limited (AGIG): ARENA will provide up to $32.1 million in funding for a 10 MW electrolyser for gas blending at AGIG’s Murray Valley Hydrogen Park in Wodonga, Victoria.

Engie will use renewable hydrogen to produce ammonia at the Yara Pilbara Fertilisers site, while ATCO and AGIG’s projects will use renewable energy to produce renewable hydrogen for gas blending into existing natural gas pipelines.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said renewable hydrogen presents an opportunity to help reduce emissions globally and locally, transform our energy system and create a new export industry for Australia.

“We’re excited to have chosen three projects we believe will help kickstart renewable hydrogen production in Australia at a large scale. One of the projects will see clean hydrogen used to make ammonia for export and the other two will blend clean hydrogen into our gas pipelines to help decarbonise our natural gas networks.

“With more than $100 million in funding, we’re hoping to build some of the biggest hydrogen electrolysers in the world, with the ultimate goal of bringing down the cost of hydrogen produced using renewable energy and growing our skills and capacity to meet future global demand for hydrogen,” he said.

ATCO Australia Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer Patrick Creaghan said this was an exciting step for ATCO, and for Western Australia’s progress towards achieving its hydrogen goals.

“We’ve been investing in hydrogen since 2017 and are strong believers in its value as we strive towards a cleaner energy future,” Creaghan said.

“The development of the CEIP has the dual benefit of not only contributing to the decarbonisation of the gas distribution network, it also allows us to generate the economies of scale required to expand the demand and use of renewable hydrogen as a commercially viable fuel.”

AGIG CEO Ben Wilson also said this was an exciting announcement.

“ATCO and AGIG are already significant players in the Western Australia gas market, providing distribution and transmission services respectively, and the CEIP joint venture brings together our strengths to establish a commercial hydrogen sector in the state. We look forward to working with ATCO, who bring with them extensive energy and hydrogen industry experience locally and internationally,” Wilson said.

Energy Networks Australia (ENA) has welcomed the Morrison government’s funding commitment to the three projects in Western Australia and Victoria.

ENA Chief Executive Officer Andrew Dillon said, “New energy sources such as hydrogen need to be deployed if Australia is to reach net zero emissions, and investing in these technologies is a step towards achieving that goal.”

Dillon said renewable gas had an important role in a zero-emission energy future to ensure the transition was affordable and customers continued to have energy choices.

“Many Australians love cooking with gas, and hydrogen is the pathway for this to continue as we decarbonise,” he said.

Image credit: © Borealis

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