Hydrogen products eager for funding
Mining News Pro - Renewable hydrogen projects worth more than a combined A$3-billion are vying for funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (Arena) to build the first commercial scale hydrogen projects in Australia.

Federal Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor noted that applications have closed for the A$70-million Renewable Hydrogen Deployment Funding Round, with Arena receiving 36 expressions of interest for hydrogen projects.

The funding round is expected to play a significant role in supporting commercial-scale deployments of renewable hydrogen in Australia and commence the pathway to achieving the Australian government’s goal of ‘H2 under A$2’.

Through the funding round, Arena aims to support two or more large scale renewable hydrogen projects, with electrolysers of a minimum 5 MW capacity and with a preference for 10 MW or larger. These projects will be expected to be among some of the largest electrolysers in the world.

“Australia has abundant resources that give us a distinct advantage when it comes to developing a hydrogen industry that can provide thousands of jobs across regional Australia and lower emissions,” Taylor said.

“The strong interest in the government’s Renewable Hydrogen Deployment Funding Round shows Australian industry is ready to co-invest with government and build a sustainable hydrogen sector.

“These projects will help us reach our H2 under A$2 technology goal sooner, with A$2/kg hydrogen making it a viable alternative to other sources of energy.

“This builds on our existing hydrogen industry that supports our hugely successful agriculture and mining sectors.”

The expressions of interest (EoIs) received from the 36 participants amounted to over A$1-billion in total grant requests, over A$3-billion in total combined project value when you account for private sector investment in the EoIs, and almost 500 MW of electrolysis capacity, with the size of projects ranging from 5 MW to nearly 80 MW.

The EoIs included a wide range of demand or end-use case applications, with applications received from every state and territory in Australia

Each project will need to be powered by renewable electricity, either directly or through a contracting approach.

Projects selected in the funding round can also be considered for further financing from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) under the CEFC’s A$300-million Advancing Hydrogen Fund.

Arena will now assess the expressions of interest and invite shortlisted projects to submit a full application, with the aim of awarding funding by the end of 2020.

“We’re excited to see that there is such strong interest in renewable hydrogen from across a broad cross section of industry,” Arena CEO Darren Miller said.

“This is an important step for the sector and it looks like we have many companies now ready to start building large scale renewable hydrogen projects across a range of industries and end-uses.

“The fact that we’ve received EoIs for projects totalling over A$3-billion in cost and almost 500 MW in size shows that we’re beginning to see companies embrace making hydrogen through renewable means,” he said.

“While we’re only at the early stages of renewable hydrogen production in Australia, much like our role in making large scale solar competitive, Arena aims to help bring down the cost of hydrogen, build Australia’s skills and capacity, create jobs and activity in regional areas and help Australia achieve our emissions reduction objectives.”

Arena has already committed over A$55-million in funding for renewable hydrogen including A$22.1-million towards research and development projects, as well as feasibility studies into large scale projects and smaller scale demonstrations looking at renewable ammonia, power to gas and hydrogen mobility.

“Preliminary feasibility outcomes indicate there is a significant commercial gap and it is expected that grant and concessional funding will be required for hydrogen production facilities in the short to medium term,” Miller said.

The funding round follows the release of the National Hydrogen Strategy last year and is in line with the Australian government’s focus on growing an innovative, safe and competitive hydrogen industry. The funding round will also help to stimulate jobs and economic growth through the application stage of the round as well as the construction and ongoing operation.

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