New Energy Insights: Bulletin – NSW Government Releases Hydrogen Guideline

The NSW Department of Planning and Environment has released its Hydrogen Guideline: A guide to the NSW planning system (Guideline). The Guideline was released pursuant to the NSW Hydrogen Strategy issued in October 2021 (Strategy). 

The Guideline provides greater clarity on the NSW planning framework for hydrogen developments and related activities (such as supply chain activities). Importantly for developers, the Guideline flags some of the key assessment issues which may arise in hydrogen development, including: 

  • how the development should be classified (for example, as a “hazardous industry” or “potentially hazardous industry”), which will largely depend on how the hydrogen is stored and handled, the quantity of hydrogen stored on site, and the location of the development; 
  • whether the site has been appropriately selected so as to minimise the development’s impact on the environment, surrounding land uses and the community; and 
  • whether the development, alongside nearby developments, will have negative cumulative environmental, economic and social impacts. 

The Guideline also confirms the NSW Government’s intention (previously expressed in the Strategy) to establish hydrogen hubs at the Illawarra and the Hunter Valley. Subsequently, on 3 March 2023, the NSW Government announced a commitment of $64 million to finance the developments of a 10WM electrolyser at Port Kembla (which will produce green hydrogen to be used at four refueling stations) and a 12MW electrolyser near Moree (which will convert green hydrogen into green ammonia to be used for feedstock). 

The Guideline identifies that it only applies to forms of hydrogen production via electrolysis, again reflecting the NSW Government’s preference to develop green hydrogen (above other types on the hydrogen rainbow). The NSW Government has flagged that the Guideline will be progressively updated as the hydrogen industry matures. 

The Hamilton Locke team advises across the energy project life cycle – from project development, grid connection, financing, construction, including the buying and selling of development and operating projects. 

Matt Baumgurtel leads the New Energy sector team at Hamilton Locke which specialises in renewable energy, energy storage and hydrogen projects and transactions as part of the firm’s Energy, Resources, Construction and Infrastructure practice. The New Energy sector team has market-leading experience with hydrogen developments across Australian jurisdictions and are up-to-date with the latest national and international policy developments in the constantly evolving, dynamic hydrogen value chain.

For more information, please contact Hamilton Locke New Energy Partner Matt Baumgurtel.