$250,000 hydrogen study in Tasmania announced

March 27, 2019




ROSS HART MP, MEMBER FOR BASS: A wonderful opportunity here to welcome my colleague Pat Conroy, Shadow Assistant Minister for [Climate Change and] Energy with a really exciting announcement here for Tasmania, indeed northern Tasmania.  We have an announcement today about a clean, green industrial process for production of hydrogen here in northern Tasmania. A commitment to a feasibility study of $250,000 towards hydrogen production in northern Tasmania.  I have been very pleased to engage with a number of key stakeholders here in Tasmania, the Northern Tasmanian Development Corporation, Launceston Chamber of Commerce and other key stakeholders.  Welcome here Pat to Launceston on this wonderful sunny day.

PAT CONROY: Thanks Ross and as Ross said we have allocated $250,000 for a very significant study into the opportunities for northern Tasmania to be part of the hydrogen industry.  This is an industry with huge benefits for Australia.  Producing hydrogen from renewable energy to export to the rest of the world is a massive opportunity.  Studies have found that we could have an industry employing 16,000 Australians and exporting $10 billion a year.  That’s why Labor has committed to a $1.1 billion national hydrogen plan.  We see Tasmania, northern Tasmania in particular, as being a part of that opportunity.  An opportunity that could produce thousands of jobs for northern Tasmania.  It would be another great manufacturing industry in northern Tasmania where Tasmania helps decarbonise the rest of the world.  It’s a testament to Ross and the rest of the Tasmanian Labor team for driving interest in this project.

JOURNALIST: How long will the feasibility study take to come to fruition?

CONROY: We imagine it will be complete by the end of 2019.  So a lot of the groundwork has already been done.  So we want to hit the ground running.  We want to get the study done, identify the opportunities in northern Tasmania and there are some great opportunities.  When you think about your great renewable energy resource, wind and then your hydro resource and then your access to a deep water port, you are really in the driving seat for hydrogen.  So get the study done quickly then tap into the $1.1 billion of funding that we have allocated to develop a hydrogen industry in this country.

JOURNALIST: What kind of global market will there be for hydrogen in the coming years?

CONROY: Well hydrogen globally is already worth half the size of the LNG market globally.  It will be worth $215 billion by 2022 and as I said independent economic studies have said that by 2040 we will have 16,000 Australian jobs in this industry.  If we get the policy right and if we have a government with a vision and commitment to deliver it.

JOURNALIST: How will the feasibility study work through in practice, if you guys are elected?

CONROY: Well, we will work with the stakeholders.  Obviously there are a number of stakeholders here, particularly the Chamber of Commerce and the state development agencies and it ties in with the Battery of the Nation concept so we’ll conduct the study in consultation with stakeholders, identify the opportunities.  Where Tasmania can really compete against the rest of world and then we will look at leveraging some of that $1.1 billion to implement the studies findings.  So this is really a ground zero for hydrogen in this country.  16,000 jobs and we want to make sure that northern Tasmania gets its fair share.

JOHN PITT, CHAIR OF NORTHERN TASMANIA: I’m John Pitt and I am the Chair of Northern Tasmania Development Corporation

JOURNALIST: John how would this hydrogen industry, how would it work for Tasmania?

PITT: Principally it’s about exports.  So even at the bottom end of the scale the estimates that we have been looking at indicate it could create $150 million per year export industry with quite a small plant that would deliver approximately quarter of a million…

JOURNALIST:  What kind of job growth are we looking at?

PITT:  Overall upwards of 500-600 we think for a plant of that size.  They would be roughly equally divided between the direct jobs in the plant itself and the indirect jobs in the supporting companies and individuals supporting the operation.  So it’s quite a significant employer and most of the jobs would be high value added, high wage jobs which is just what we need.

JOURNALIST:  Would it be bringing skills to northern Tasmania that people don’t have at the moment and I guess like increasing the skills of our workforce.

PITT: Yes it would.  I mean we have got a high skill base in advanced manufacturing already but this is a new industry for the country and whilst many of skills are complementary with the LNG industry as the Shadow Minister indicated this would be terrific for Tasmania to draw on our existing renewable energy generation capability.  There would be work required in the water sector, obviously good for our transport industry and the new technology associated with hydrogen production and storage in the state and the region.

JOURNALIST:  And for people who don’t really understand what hydrogen is what does it fuel and what’s the point of it, what does it fuel?

PITT: Well basically its similar to natural gas… that’s the opportunity so Tasmania has got a great chance to leverage its competitive assets, its unexploited renewable energy resources – wind and hydro and its water resources, we have got some of the largest water resources in the country on a per capita basis.  So combining those two ingredients if you like in a non-polluting industry and exporting a product is a way of monetising those assets.

CONROY: And if I can just add on the uses of hydrogen, it can replace natural gas for heating and cooking, it can replace natural gas as a feedstock into manufacturing, it can replace coking coal in steel making, you can use it power transport so you can have electric vehicles powered by hydrogen and you can use it for power generation.  Really using a gas that is incredibly diverse and will help decarbonise the entire world and Tasmania has a great opportunity due to your great resources to take advance of it.

JOURNALIST:  Thank you very much.