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Australian State Policy Sets 200% Renewable Energy Target to Power Cheap Green Hydrogen

March 4, 2020


Tasmania said 2040 goal will help spur big wind and hydro development that can drive down renewable hydrogen production cost.

Tasmania set a 200% renewables share target and big goals for lower-cost green hydrogen production as the island state ramped up its ambitions as a clean-power battery for the rest of Australia.

Tasmania claimed its excellent wind and hydropower resource leave it well-placed to produce double its current demand from renewable sources by 2040, in what would be one of the highest share targets yet set by policymakers.

The state – which said it will release detailed proposals for meeting the target next month – also outlined plans for “multi-gigawatt scale” green hydrogen production, spurred by A$50m of state support, with an initial plant powered by 2GW of new renewables up and running by 2024.

Tasmania cites several key advantages in its plans to boost both renewable power supply and green hydrogen production, the latter increasingly seen as a key element of the energy transition thanks to its ability to reach hard-to-decarbonise sectors such as heating and transport.

One is its resources, with the strong and steady ‘Roaring Forties’ winds that drive high capacity factors for its turbines, and abundant hydro capacity, including on-demand pumped storage that can firm-up wind output when needed.

Those resources lead to the second edge claimed by the state, which said the consistent renewables output would mean high utilisation rates for the electrolysers needed for the green hydrogen production process.

State planners reckon that could make Tasmanian green hydrogen production up to 30% more cost-competitive than electrolysers powered elsewhere in Australia – the more hours per day that an electrolyser is used, the lower the levelised cost of the hydrogen produced.

State premier Peter Gutwein said: “Our vision is that Tasmania will be commercially exporting hydrogen by 2030.”

Tasmania – which has a population of just over 500,000 – currently has a 2.3GW hydropower and 560MW wind base that will see it reach a 100% renewables share by 2022.

It has already released a strategy called ‘Battery of the Nation’ which flags the potential for 8.7GW more wind and another 3.4GW of pumped-hydro storage.

Australia more widely has emerged as a hotbed of green hydrogen plans, with several states looking to establish themselves as global leaders in the fast-emerging sector.

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