New Energy Insights: Bulletin – Smart Energy Virtual Conference and Exhibition: Hydrogen

This article is part of our New Energy Insights series from our Energy, Infrastructure and Resources team. Stay tuned for regular updates and commentary on topical issues across the sector.

The Hamilton Locke New Energy Team attended the Smart Energy Virtual Conference and Exhibition, held on 9 December 2021. Hosted by Chair Johanna Bowyer from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), the presentations on renewable hydrogen featured discussions from a range of industry members on various aspects of hydrogen’s state of play in Australia. This ranged from an overview of hydrogen vehicles in Australia to Australia’s renewable hydrogen potential and the development of hydrogen ecosystems.

Australia is currently positioning itself to become a global hydrogen leader. The International Energy Agency’s Renewables 2021 report declared Australia alongside Chile, Spain, and China as the four nations on track to contribute 85% of all renewable energy capacity in the year 2026. Presently, we have 82 hydrogen projects in various stages of development in Australia with the Australian Government pledging $1.2 billion in investments to build the national hydrogen industry.

Representatives from Hyzon, a global supplier of zero-emissions hydrogen fuel cell powered commercial vehicles, spoke about how hydrogen fuel cell vehicles will play a vital role in the decarbonization of Australia’s transport sector. Hyzon will supply the first fuel cell electric heavy vehicles on Australian roads in 2022 with 1000 hydrogen vehicles tipped for deployment in 2022. This includes delivery of Australia’s first hydrogen powered trucks to Coregas, a Wesfarmers Company.

This aligns with the Federal Government’s Future Fuels and Vehicles Strategy which aims to reduce emissions in the transport sector. However, more definitive targets and funding are required to encourage the switch to hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and there are also issues regarding hydrogen fuel availability for heavy vehicle refuelling and developing network stations across the country. See more for a discussion on these issues in our recent article on the topic (see link).

These presentations were an insightful reminder of the importance of Australia’s hydrogen future whilst also emphasising the need for big companies to focus more on collaboration than competition to catapult the industry and sector to the next level.

The Hamilton Locke team advises across the energy project life cycle – from project development, grid connection, financing, and construction, including the buying and selling of development and operating projects. For more information, please contact Matt Baumgurtel.