Friday, 05 June 2020 10:55

Funding sought for commercialisation of $3 billion worth of renewable hydrogen projects Featured

By
Darren Miller ARENA CEO Darren Miller ARENA CEO

More than $3 billion in funding is being sought from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) to build Australia’s first commercial scale hydrogen projects.

The projects looking for funding follow ARENA’s opening in April of the $70 million Renewable Hydrogen Deployment Funding Round aimed at helping to fast track the development of renewable hydrogen in Australia.

With the initial application stage closing, ARENA announced on Friday thatit had received 36 expressions of interest (EOI) in the funding round, which it says is expected to play a significant role in supporting commercial-scale deployments of renewable hydrogen in Australia.

Through the funding round, ARENA says it aims to support two or more large scale renewable hydrogen projects, with electrolysers of a minimum 5 MW capacity and with a preference for 10 MW or larger - with the projects expected to be among some of the largest electrolysers in the world.

An overview of the expressions of interest received includes:

  • Over $1 billion in total grant requests
  • Over $3 billion in total combined project value when you account for private sector investment in the EOIs
  • Almost 500 MW of electrolysis capacity, with the size of projects ranging from 5 MW to nearly 80 MW
  • A wide range of demand or end use case applications
  • Expression of interest applications from every state and territory in Australia

ARENA says each project will need to be powered by renewable electricity, either directly or through a contracting approach, and projects selected in the funding round can also be considered for further financing from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) under the CEFC’s $300 million Advancing Hydrogen Fund.

ARENA has said it will now assess the expressions of interest and invite shortlisted projects to submit a full application, with the aim of awarding funding by the end of 2020.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said: “We’re excited to see that there is such strong interest in renewable hydrogen from across a broad cross section of industry”.

“This is an important step for the sector and it looks like we have many companies now ready to start building large scale renewable hydrogen projects across a range of industries and end uses.” The fact that we’ve received expressions of interest for projects totalling over $3 billion in cost and almost 500 MW in size shows that we’re beginning to see companies embrace making hydrogen through renewable means.

“While we’re only at the early stages of renewable hydrogen production in Australia, much like our role in making large scale solar competitive, ARENA aims to help bring down the cost of hydrogen, build Australia’s skills and capacity, create jobs and activity in regional areas and help Australia achieve our emissions reduction objectives.”

Miller noted that ARENA has already committed over $55 million in funding for renewable hydrogen including $22.1 million towards R&D projects, as well as feasibility studies into large scale projects and smaller scale demonstrations looking at renewable ammonia, power to gas and hydrogen mobility.

“Preliminary feasibility outcomes indicate there is a significant commercial gap and it is expected that grant and concessional funding will be required for hydrogen production facilities in the short to medium term,” Miller concluded.


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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired and is a "volunteer" writer for iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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