PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The federal and Victorian governments have announced a A$51-million investment into a electrolyser in Wodonga, which will make use of renewable hydrogen.
The 10 MW electrolyser will be eight times larger than the biggest electrolyser currently operating in Australia and will initially be used to blend green hydrogen into gas networks to supply around 40 000 homes and 20 industrial sites with cleaner energy and create up to 55 jobs in its construction phase.
It will be powered by renewable energy from a Victorian wind farm and demonstrate renewable hydrogen’s compatibility with existing gas infrastructure.
Renewable hydrogen will be distributed through existing natural gas pipelines at mixes of up to 10%. The project will also look to identify other opportunities to use renewable hydrogen in industrial and transport applications, maximising the value of the renewable hydrogen and helping drive decarbonisation across the local economy.
The project at North East Water’s local wastewater plant is a joint investment of A$12.3-million from the Victorian government, A$36.1-million from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), with additional financial backing from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC).
Government financing will support both capital costs and assist with bridging operating costs for the project.
Construction on the project is due to commence in 2023, with the site operational by late 2025.
“The Australian government is committed to creating jobs for great regional cities like Wodonga, and building experience and using renewable hydrogen will create economic opportunities in the net zero transformation,” federal Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen said.
“The move to cleaner energy brings enormous job opportunities and both the Victorian and Commonwealth governments are seizing that opportunity."
Victorian Minister for Climate Action Lily D’Ambrosio said the project represents a significant step to build scale and capability for renewable hydrogen and create new jobs and drive investment across the east coast.
“Having the east coast’s largest electrolyser just off the Hume Highway in Wodonga will provide exciting opportunity for industry and renewable energy for years to come.
“We’re delivering more renewable energy options to Victorians to ensure we can continue to grow our industry and economy as we work towards net zero by 2045,” D’Ambrosio said.
The recent 'State of the Hydrogen' report reinforced that Australia has the foundations to become a global leader in renewable hydrogen and there is an urgent need to speed up priority projects and hubs to compete internationally, said Bowen.
He said that the government was ensuring Australia could reach its potential as a renewable energy superpower, with the new A$2-billion Hydrogen Headstart programme announced in the Budget to scale up development of Australia’s renewable hydrogen industry.
The government is also investing over half a billion dollars in regional hydrogen hubs, which will drive investments in this new industry across regions including Gladstone, the Hunter, Bell Bay and the Pilbara.