After the Commonwealth government boosted its investment in a national network of clean hydrogen hubs to $464 million, Bell Bay may be the site of a new hydrogen production and export plant.
The centers, according to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, would create employment across Australia and help the country become a worldwide leader in the new energy economy.
“Our strategy to invest in and grow low-emission sectors will result in more employment for Australians, especially in our regions,” he added.
“We are speeding up the development of our Australian hydrogen sector, with the goal of producing the world’s cheapest clean hydrogen.”
Bell Bay is a strategically significant location, according to Tasmanian Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Guy Barnett, with the state and federal governments seeking to harness the site’s existing resources and infrastructure to create hydrogen.
“We’re collaborating with the federal government to maximize Bell Bay’s potential as a national hydrogen center,” he added.
The Clean Hydrogen Industrial Hubs initiative will have two financing rounds, with the first phase of award applications starting on September 28.
The first batch of funds will go to regional Australia to help with the roll-out and creation of hub initiatives.
With a minimum award value of $30 million and a maximum grant amount of $70 million, the establishment grants will cover up to 50% of qualifying project expenses.
Grants for the development and design phase will also be available, with a minimum of $500,000 and a maximum of $3 million per applicant, limited at 50% of qualifying project expenses.
According to the federal government, the program is intended to attract considerable private sector co-investment both locally and globally.
Angus Taylor, the Federal Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, said the hubs will assist the hydrogen sector create jobs in regional Australia, with the potential to generate 8000 new jobs and over $11 billion per year by 2050.
The Bell Bay location was chosen after a study of its current capabilities, including infrastructure and resources, according to the federal government.
Darwin, the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia, Gladstone in Queensland, the Latrobe Valley in Victoria, the Hunter Valley in NSW, and the Pilbara in Western Australia have all been considered as prospective centers, in addition to Bell Bay. The deadline for applications is November 22.