Australia has opened its $2 billion Hydrogen Headstart program to applications, as it seeks to bridge the commercial gap between the cost of producing green hydrogen and the market price for large-scale projects.
The program is seen as a critical step in Australia’s efforts to catch up in the global hydrogen race, with the US, Europe, and other nations having already introduced significant policies and programs to support the development of this clean energy source.
The Hydrogen Headstart program is expected to support a minimum of two large-scale projects with at least 50 MW of capacity over a 10-year period, via a production credit per kilogram of hydrogen produced.
The program was co-designed by the Commonwealth Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), which will administer the program. The Clean Energy Council’s Policy Director for Decarbonisation, Anna Freeman, said that the program is essential to helping Australia realize its potential as a global hydrogen leader.
The federal government’s Resources and Energy Major Projects 2022 report found that just one hydrogen project reached the ‘committed’ stage last year, with only three out of 16 projects progressing beyond the feasibility stage.
This chasm between the plethora of hydrogen project announcements made in the last years and the reality on Australian ground has become a major source of alarm, with the introduction of the US’ massive renewables support program, the Inflation Reduction Act, which includes substantial green hydrogen subsidies.
The Hydrogen Headstart program is intended to help Australian keep a foot in the global door. The program will provide a much-needed boost to the development of Australia’s hydrogen industry, and it is hoped that it will help to attract the investment and expertise needed to make Australia a global leader in this clean energy source.
The Hydrogen Headstart program has the potential to make a significant impact on the development of Australia’s hydrogen industry. The program will provide financial support to large-scale hydrogen projects, which will help to bridge the commercial gap between the cost of producing green hydrogen and the market price.
This will make hydrogen projects more financially attractive to investors, and it is hoped that it will lead to an increase in investment in the Australian hydrogen industry.
The Hydrogen Headstart program is also expected to create jobs and boost economic growth in Australia. The development of the hydrogen industry will require a wide range of skills and expertise, and it is expected to create new jobs in areas such as engineering, construction, and manufacturing.