Australia’s hydrogen aspirations in jeopardy due to underinvestment

A large number of projects totalling 266 billion Australian dollars ($178 billion) have been proposed for it, but only one hydrogen project has received Australia Investments’ commitment. This demonstrates the scope of the challenge it faces in its quest to become a significant exporter of clean fuel.

While this is going on, investments are still being made in the fossil fuels sector. According to the most recent official data, oil and gas make up 55% of the main natural resource projects that are currently under development nationwide.

Australia, the second-largest exporter of coal and liquefied natural gas, has bragged about its ability to take the lead in renewable energy and emerge as a global superpower in transition minerals in recent years. Hydrogen that is created with sustainable energy, which is crucial to this goal, is regarded as green hydrogen.

According to the government’s Major Resources and Energy Projects Report, which was published on Monday, the majority of hydrogen feasibility assessments have come to the conclusion that the projects are not financially viable. Except for the A$100 million ($67 million) that has been committed, these projects have not received any investment to date.

Canberra emphasized that hydrogen is a “young field,” though, and stated that “the project environment is projected to shift swiftly.” The analysis concluded that hydrogen would swiftly become Australia’s fastest-growing export sector provided all open bids were accepted and financial arrangements were made.

Several large international corporations, including BP, Macquarie Group, and Fortescue Metals Group, have ambitious hydrogen project ambitions for Australia.

Big money has, however, thus far placed its bets on carbon-emitting fossil fuels. In contrast to hydrogen, which has a proven market, new investment in natural gas is flourishing, bringing in A$46 billion. With investments totaling 10.7 billion Australian dollars, iron ore comes in second, followed by coal, which has a value of 7 billion Australian dollars.

New lithium projects in Australia have been given a budget of 4.6 billion Australian dollars, while copper has received a budget of 2.3 billion Australian dollars. Both minerals have a promising future as they are needed in the fields of renewable energy, electric vehicles, and electrical appliances.

Due to increased prices brought on by the conflict in Ukraine, the government anticipates that overall merchandise export revenue will reach a record A$459 billion ($308 billion) this fiscal year. These exports will once again be dominated by coal, iron ore, and gas.