Australia: climate change bill focuses on hydrogen growth

Following the passage of its Climate Change Bill, which has a target of reducing emissions by 43% by 2030, green hydrogen is expected to play a significant part in Australia’s energy industry.

Australia will seek to achieve net zero by 2050 in addition to the 2030 objective, measured against 2005 levels.

The bill will require yearly target announcements, incorporate targets into the goals and duties of pertinent Commonwealth agencies, and give the Climate Change Authority the authority to advise the Minister on potential targets. Every five years, the legislation would be reviewed.

The updated measure makes it clear that the 43% goal “acts as a floor, rather than a ceiling” in a note.

Given its plentiful resources, past record of creating large-scale energy businesses, closeness to, and experience doing business with, Asian markets, Australia feels it has considerable competitive advantages for developing a strong hydrogen export sector.

According to Geoscience Australia, around 11% of Australia (872,000 sq km) might be suitable for the generation of renewable hydrogen.

How to strike a balance between hydrogen’s needs and other water concerns is a dilemma for the nation. Given the demand from consumers, businesses, the mining sector, and agriculture in many locations, capacity will be constrained.

One other promising area is carbon capture and storage (CCS).

The Carnarvon Basin, offshore Western Australia (home to one of the largest carbon capture and storage projects in the world on Barrow Island), offshore Victoria’s Gippsland Basin (where the CarbonNet project is located), and onshore areas close to the Cooper Basin (Queensland and South Australia) and Surat Basin offer the best opportunities (Queensland).

The Northern Territory Government is also actively negotiating with domestic and foreign businesses to create industrial renewable hydrogen projects there.