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Australia's government is allocating $1.35 billion (AUS$2 billion) in the 2023- 24 budget to accelerate large-scale renewable hydrogen projects, aiming to become a world leader in green hydrogen production.
The Australian government will invest the sum in the so-called Hydrogen Headstart, a new program to support hydrogen production, it said in the budget unveiled on Tuesday.
"Australia already has the largest pipeline of renewable hydrogen projects in the world. Hydrogen Headstart will bridge the commercial gap for early-stage projects, and position Australia to be a world-leading hydrogen producer and exporter," the government said in the annual budget.
As of 2022, Australia had an announced pipeline of more than 100 hydrogen projects, which could be worth around $155 billion - $203 billion (AUS$230-300 billion) of potential investment, according to a government report from last year.
"This represents close to 40% of all global clean hydrogen project announcements, and underlines Australia's potential to be among the global leaders," Climate Change and Energy Minister Chris Bowen said in the report.
The new funding for hydrogen is expected to support the delivery of up to 2-3 large hydrogen projects, scaled to need up to 1,000 MW of electrolyzer capacity. The program is expected to be open for expressions of interest in the first quarter of 2024. Following assessment, successful applicants will be awarded contracts and provided with ongoing payments over a 10-year period from 2026-27.
In total, Australia's Budget for 2023-24 invests a further $2.7 billion (AUS$4 billion) in the country's plan "to become a renewable energy superpower," the government said.
These commitments bring the government's total investment in becoming a renewable energy superpower to more than $27 billion (AUS$ 40 billion).
"Australia's biggest opportunity for growth and prosperity is the global shift to clean energy," Treasurer Jim Chalmers said in the Budget speech today.
"By acting now, our resources, our researchers and our regions can help power the world," Chalmers added.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.