First mover movement: making the most of Australia’s hydrogen opportunity

Hydrogen energy Renewable energy Energy industries Energy resources Energy transition Sector regulation Australia

This report begins by outlining the hydrogen opportunity in Australia and the world. As addressing climate change becomes a more urgent global priority, governments around the world have begun pursuing alternative energy policies in order to meet their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) – the emissions reductions that countries have committed to undertake under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

A significant proportion of greenhouse gas emissions can be abated with electrification powered by solar, wind, storage, hydro, and other clean sources such as geothermal, however some carbon-intensive industries and practices will require an alternative fuel. For this reason, hydrogen presents an exciting opportunity. Although energy intensive to produce, hydrogen is emissions-free when burned, and if clean energy production methods are utilised, hydrogen can be a low or zero-emissions fuel.

Part 2 of this report then examines the current and future global market for hydrogen, noting the myriad applications of hydrogen that will drive demand as the world transitions towards net zero.

Part 3 then outlines the first mover advantage Australia should chase today so that the forecast green hydrogen export opportunities can be met in coming decades.

Part 4 details the various approaches that Australian governments have taken to date on the hydrogen opportunity.

Finally, the report makes three key recommendations aimed at guiding national hydrogen policy in the coming decade. It argues that governments should prioritise scale, work with industry to identify the most appropriate way in which domestic hydrogen production to help grow domestic manufacturing, and design a national Hydrogen Domestic Reservation Mechanism today, to avoid future supply shortfalls when hydrogen is an essential input for Australian heavy industry.

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