WA hoping to draw federal hydrogen hubs

25th November 2021 By: Esmarie Iannucci - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Australasia

WA hoping to draw federal hydrogen hubs

PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The Western Australian government on Thursday announced that it will invest up to A$117.5-million to attract federal funding for renewable hydrogen hubs in the Pilbara and Mid-West region.

The state government this week lodged applications through the Commonwealth government's Clean Hydrogen Industrial Hubs programme for matching Commonwealth funding to develop hubs in the Pilbara and Mid-West.

So far, seven prospective locations across Australia have been identified for potential hydrogen hubs and include: Bell Bay in Tasmania, Darwin in the Northern Territory, Eyre Peninsula in South Australia, Gladstone in Queensland, Latrobe Valley in Victoria, Hunter Valley in New South Wales, and Pilbara in Western Australia.

The A$464-million Clean Hydrogen Industrial Hubs grant programme provides up to A$3-million grants for project consortia to initially progress feasibility and design work, and up to A$70-million towards the roll-out of projects.

The Western Australian state government said on Thursday that the state had globally competitive natural advantages in the renewable hydrogen industry - including abundant solar and wind resources, available land, existing export infrastructure and strong trading partnerships in the region.

“Western Australia has every advantage to be a world leader in renewable hydrogen, and we are committed to providing the support to make these job-creating projects a reality,” said Premier Mark McGowan.

“The Pilbara and Mid-West are second to none among regions around the country in offering the competitive advantages needed to drive successful local hydrogen industries.”

McGowan noted that the proposed hydrogen hubs capitalised on these natural advantages in the Pilbara and Mid West, and would help to fast-track renewable hydrogen production and exports from Western Australia. 

The Pilbara Hydrogen Hub plan involves development of a hydrogen or ammonia pipeline connecting the Maitland and Burrup strategic industrial areas, creation of a Clean Energy Training and Research Institute based out of both Karratha and Port Hedland, and port upgrades to facilitate export opportunities.

The Mid West Clean Hydrogen Hub proposal includes construction of renewable energy and road infrastructure at the Oakajee Strategic Industrial Area, as well as connecting the area to power and water, and developing hydrogen refuelling infrastructure. 

Combined, the hubs would create around 2 000 skilled and semiskilled jobs across the state.

The state government's bids are supported by major resources industry companies including Woodside, Fortescue Future Industries, bp Australia, ATCO Australia, Australian Gas Infrastructure Group, Yara Pilbara, Engie, Rio Tinto and InterContinental Energy. 

“Both the Pilbara and Mid-West are attracting global attention for their renewable hydrogen potential, with energy companies from across the world setting their sights on Western Australia,” said Hydrogen Industry Minister Alannah MacTiernan. 

“Our government has made this major commitment to unleash that potential and deliver the infrastructure we need to fast-track local renewable hydrogen production and exports.  

“We want to partner with the federal government to embrace this job-creating opportunity for Western Australia, which will make a significant contribution to global efforts towards net-zero emissions.

“We urge the Commonwealth to recognise the huge national benefit from locating two hubs in Western Australia.”