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AGIG boss backs "bipartisan" hydrogen plans

23 Jan 2019 4:47 PM | Sonia Harvey (Administrator)

THE Australian Gas Infrastructure Group’s CEO Ben Wilson told Energy News he views hydrogen as a rare bright spot of bipartisan energy policy, with both the Opposition Labor and Coalition government supporting the development of a hydrogen industry in Australia. 

Wilson welcomed Labor's announcement yesterday of $1.14 billion for development of a broad hydrogen industry, with $1 billion going to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.  

"We very much see this as a national strategy and welcome the momentum it brings," he said. 

"We're very keen on hydrogen as a business, and COAG (the Council of Australian Governments) has been very supportive."  

"I really see hydrogen as a candidate for bipartisan support," he said.  

Last year the government announced $50 million of funding to a brown coal-to-hydrogen project in Victoria led by Kawasaki Heavy Industries worth an ultimate $498 million that aims to develop hydrogen that can be liquefied and shipped to Japan.  

The CO2 left over from the conversion process would then be injected deep underground in a carbon capture and storage process.  

Aside from mentions of ‘renewable' and clean industries and some funding for electrolysers Labor hasn't suggested whether its hydrogen will be ‘green' - made from water split into its parts via solar powered electrolysers - or ‘blue' - made from methane or coal and subject to disapproval from some environmentalists.  

It also hasn't made a statement on the Victorian La Trobe Valley project.  

Echoing the national energy guarantee proposed by then-energy minister Josh Frydenberg Wilson said "a technology neutral approach" to hydrogen was needed. 

"We need emissions targets with affordability and I don't think we should be picking winners. 

"We're very excited about green hydrogen but if you can produce it with carbon capture and storage then why not, if it's viable and can be successful and supports jobs in the La Trobe Valley."

Source: Energy News Bulletin

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