Australia is set to muscle in on an emerging industry that could see us become a global heavyweight – and rake in billions.
As the world responds to the climate emergency and more and more nations begin the journey to decarbonisation, many have come to the conclusion that the future will include both renewable energy and clean hydrogen markets.
As a result of this massive importance, the Australian Government has committed more than $500 million to our national hydrogen industry since 2015.
But now, Australia is taking a huge step forward in an attempt to cement our status as a powerful hydrogen player, with the establishment of a funded network of hydrogen technology clusters in every state and territory.
It’s a smart move, given a 2019 Deloitte report predicted the hydrogen economy could increase Australia’s GDP by between $11 billion and $26 billion by 2050, and create between 7600 and 16,900 jobs.
It has been revealed today that $1.85 million will be invested in the gamechanging network of 13 hydrogen technology clusters.
The clusters are the result of state government, NERA and industry investment and will be located across all states and territories.
The idea behind the clusters, which are backed by both federal and local governments, is to establish a global identity and a recognised brand for Australian hydrogen technology and expertise, and help with the development of the hydrogen supply chain, reduce overlaps and identify gaps in the development, deployment, and commercialisation of new hydrogen focused technologies.
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The development of a national hydrogen cluster was identified by the 2019 National Hydrogen Strategy as an important component to scale up Australia’s domestic industry to become a global hydrogen competitor.
In a nutshell, technology clusters are geographic concentrations of interconnected businesses and organisations in a particular field, that both collaborate and compete to increase productivity and innovation.
‘THE TIME IS NOW’
Speaking to news.com.au, NERA CEO Miranda Taylor said while hydrogen represented a golden opportunity for Australia with “billions on the table”, there was no time to waste.
And she said the timing was especially important, given Australia was now looking at its post coronavirus economic recovery.
“Pretty much the entire world is moving towards decarbonisation, including many of Australia’s important trading partners like China, South Korea, Japan and Europe, so the energy transition is upon us, and it’s a case of let’s not get left behind,” she said.
“Hydrogen offers a really big opportunity for Australia.
“It’s the energy solution the world is going to need, and Australia needs to move now.
“The rest of the world is investing a lot of money into hydrogen and while we have lots of strengths and advantages, the time is now – we really need to invest now.”
Ms Taylor said it also provided a way for many workers currently in more traditional areas to transition into hydrogen without job losses, with many skills in mining, for example, were similar to those required in hydrogen.
CHEAPER ENERGY BILLS
Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor said the announcement was part of a plan to help Australia “become a world leader in hydrogen production and exports that which will create jobs, many in regional areas, and billions of dollars in economic growth between now and 2050”.
And he said there would be clear benefits for everyday Aussies too.
“Importantly, if we can get hydrogen produced at under $2 a kilogram, it will be able to play a role in our domestic energy mix, bringing down energy prices and keeping the lights on,” he said.
“Our hydrogen industry will have a positive impact both at home and overseas – from cheaper energy bills and job creation to reducing global emissions.
“The industry’s potential cannot be ignored.”