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In late December 2023, the Australian Government announced the candidates for its substantial AUD $2b Hydrogen Headstart Program. These six projects collectively represent an impressive 3.5GW of electrolyzer capacity. They also rank among the globe’s most significant renewable hydrogen initiatives.

These competitors are poised to submit comprehensive applications for the subsequent negotiation phase. They may secure a decade-long production credit for renewable hydrogen or its derivatives if their proposals prove successful. This innovative credit system seeks to bridge the cost-sales price gap, securing investors, developers, and end-users’s confidence.

Among the selected projects is bp Low Carbon Australia’s H2Kwinana. They intend to install 100MW of electrolyzer capacity initially, with potential expansion to 1.5GW in subsequent phases. Another participant, HIF Asia Pacific’s HIF Tasmania eFuel Facility, aims to produce up to 100 million liters of e-gasoline by 2028 through electrolytic hydrogen and recycled carbon dioxide.

KEPCO Australia brings the Port of Newcastle Green Hydrogen Project to the forefront. They plan to scale up to 1GW of electrolyzer capacity for diverse applications such as mobility, bunkering, and energy production. Meanwhile, Origin Energy Future Fuels anticipates the Hunter Valley Hydrogen Hub on Kooragang Island. They are targeting the decarbonization of ammonia production by replacing natural gas feedstock with hydrogen.

Stanwell Corporation’s Central Queensland Hydrogen Project (CQ-H2) initially aims to install 640MW of electrolyzer, with potential expansion to 2.24GW for ammonia and liquid hydrogen exports. Lastly, the Murchison Hydrogen Renewables Project, using 5GW of onshore wind and solar energy, anticipates producing two million tonnes of green ammonia.

This Hydrogen Headstart Program parallels international initiatives like the US’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), featuring production tax credits up to $3/kg, the EU’s competitive bids for fixed premiums per kg of green hydrogen, and Canada’s Clean Hydrogen Investment Tax Credit. Such programs signify a global commitment to advancing hydrogen technologies and encouraging sustainable energy practices.

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