Australia invests A$70 million in large scale hydrogen hub

Australia is to invest A$70m developing a hydrogen hub in Newcastle, marking its first commitment to developing a regional hydrogen centre.

A joint statement from The Hon Chris Bowen MP, Minister for Climate Change and Energy, and Sharon Claydon MP, Member for Newcastle, said the Albanese Government has taken a major step forward towards delivering a renewable hydrogen hub in the Hunter Valley.

Construction aims to begin in 2025 with operations expected to start in 2026.

Origin Energy in collaboration with Orica said it is progressing the development of the Hunter Valley Hydrogen Hub which will produce renewable hydrogen and create around 100 jobs.

The hub is targeting production of up to 5,500 tonnes of renewable hydrogen each year. Most will be used by the Orica ammonia and ammonium nitrate facility to help make their products emission-free, and hydrogen will also be made available for refuelling hydrogen buses and trucks.

The project also aims to establish a pathway to export renewable hydrogen and provide more job opportunities in the region by expanding workforce skills and creating a new industry around renewable hydrogen.

Bowen said renewable hydrogen was an essential part of Australia’s renewable energy transformation.

He said, “Investing in an Australian renewable hydrogen industry is investing in Australia’s future. Newcastle and the Hunter Region have been industrial and economic powerhouses for decades, making the Port of Newcastle an ideal location for a renewable hydrogen hub that can support decarbonisation of heavy industry in the region and connect our renewable resources to the world.”

“This project is the next step towards using locally produced renewable hydrogen in Australia to reduce our industrial emissions and develop a renewable export future.”

Renewable hydrogen will be produced using a 55MW electrolyser, which is “over five times larger” than the biggest electrolyser currently at final investment decision. Claydon said this major investment will help establish Newcastle and the Hunter as a renewable energy hub.

She added: “The regions that have always powered Australia are the same regions that will power us throughout the transformation to a decarbonised economy – but only with the right investment.

“The Albanese Labor Government is committed to supporting carbon intensive regions like ours to take advantage of the economic and job opportunities that come with more affordable and reliable renewable energy.”