Australian Capital Territory announces hydrogen investments

Australia has made its first major investment in hydrogen, with an announcement from the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) government that they would be investing $180 AUD into hydrogen related projects.

The ACT is Australia’s smallest self-governing region, consisting only of Canberra and its immediate environs, but due to its hosting of CSIRO and the Australian National University, the territory has often been at the forefront of Australian science. It has recently confirmed its goal of running on 100% renewable energy by 2020, a target far in advance of other Australian states.

In line with this commitment to green power, the ACT government has announced investment partnerships with renewable energy developers as part of its 200MW Next Generation Renewables auction. These companies will collectively establish a 1.25MW hydrogen electrolyser, investigate the possibility of converting Canberra’s gas network to hydrogen, and seek to build up a fledgling hydrogen production network using Canberra’s renewable power. The iniative will also mark the introduction of hydrogen-fuelled cars in Australia, with a refuelling station and a 20-car fleet to be introduced into the capital.

The ACT Environment and Climate Change minister Simon Corbell declared in his announcment,

“Now that the ACT is set to have 100% renewable electricity by 2020, which will reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 40% on 1990 levels, we can focus on reducing other sources of greenhouse gases and maintaining our position as a leader in energy innovation. One of the next great challenges is our transport sector which will overtake electricity to be 60% of our city’s emission in 2020.

The future for transport is clear – it is renewable and it is electric. Both batteries and hydrogen energy storage technologies may have important roles to play as we electrify our vehicle fleets, and have an electricity grid based on 100% renewable energy.

Hydrogen technologies could be an important complementary technology to battery storage with several advantages as an energy storage medium.”

The companies involved in this push are Neoen, Megawatt Capital, Union Fenosa, Siemens and Hyundai.