Response 421930719

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Introduction

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Angus Holcombe

What is your organisation or agency?

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Meridian Energy Australia

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Australian Capital Territory
New South Wales
Northern Territory
Queensland
South Australia
Tasmania
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Western Australia
International

Your comments

Survey questions

What do you think are the two or three most significant recent developments in hydrogen?
1. The release of the CSIRO and ARENA Reports which identify Australia's capacity to become a world leader in the production and export of green hydrogen. 2. COAG's establishment of the Hydrogen Working Group to develop a national strategy for Australia’s hydrogen industry.
What are the most important safety issues to consider in producing, handling and using hydrogen in Australia?
Australia already has significant expertise and experience in the transport of natural gas for domestic, industrial and export industries however it remains unclear at this stage as to whether a hydrogen production facility would be classified as a ‘major hazard facility’ (MHF). This would need to be agreed at a national level to ensure consistency across Australia for all producers.
What environmental and community impacts should we examine?
One environmental impact that the Hydrogen Working Group should examine is the likely source of water required for the electrolysis process. Will it take water from alternate uses potentially driving demand and price up for what is already a scarce commodity.
How can Australia influence and accelerate the development of a global market for hydrogen?
One way to influence and accelerate the development of a global market is through a bi-lateral framework supply agreement with countries that have or are likely to have increased demand for hydrogen into the future. Japan, Korea for example.
What are the top two or three factors required for a successful hydrogen export industry?
For the industry to successfully grow it must be seen as a safe and environmentally sustainable alternative to current fuel supply sources. Another factor critical to its success will be the implementation of a stable long-term policy underpinning the industry at a State and Federal level with bi-partisan support.
What are the top two or three opportunities for the use of clean hydrogen in Australia?
In Australia both the heavy vehicle transport industry (buses) and heavy industry currently appear to be most economic. Modelling to date suggests that the higher capital investment required for a hydrogen powered bus when compared to a conventionally powered bus (diesel) will be offset by the much lower operation and maintenance costs and after approximately 9 years the hydrogen bus model will be cost positive against its conventionally powered pier.
What are the main barriers to the use of hydrogen in Australia?
Currently there is no clear market for green, brown or grey hydrogen in Australia or for export to Australia's traditional trading partners. There also needs to be a clear regulatory framework for all participants to work within that is well understood which encourages competition and minimises where possible barriers to entry and doesn't favor large incumbent gas and energy participants.
What are some examples where a strategic national approach could lower costs and shorten timelines for developing a clean hydrogen industry?
A clear national strategy would lead to consistent development frameworks for projects across the country. Hydrogen could be supplied to a number of demand (load) centres across the gas network or to the heavy vehicle fleet at a national level without conflicting state based regulatory frameworks.
What are Australia’s key technology, regulatory and business strengths and weaknesses in the development of a clean hydrogen industry?
Australia has a surplus of renewable energy particularly during the middle of the day where an influx of rooftop solar has driven the price of energy down dramatically. This surplus generation could be utilised to create green hydrogen for use by the heavy vehicle transport industry.
What workforce skills will need to be developed to support a growing clean hydrogen industry?
The skills required to develop the industry will largely be driven by the final regulatory regime that is implemented to oversee and govern the way the industry operates and complements the existing gas reticulation network businesses across Australia.
What areas in hydrogen research, development and deployment need attention in Australia? Where are the gaps in our knowledge?
From a technical perspective there is still a gap in respect of the industry's knowledge around the percentage of hydrogen that can be injected into the existing natural gas network without compromising the health and safety of those users or the community or appliances that rely on the gas from these networks.
Do you have any other comments or submissions to this process?
None other than to emphasise the benefits of a national strategy and policy regime that has bi-partisan support at both State and Federal Government level. Long term policy that underpins an export market and a domestic supply market but also recognises the importance of continuity of supply for domestic uses will ensure consumers are able to build commercial operations based on the ongoing supply of fairly priced hydrogen supply.