hydrogen energy
Image: TERI

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has approved $103.3 million in funding towards the development of three large-scale hydrogen energy projects.

The $103.3 million, part of ARENA’s Renewable Hydrogen Deployment Funding Round launched to fast-track hydrogen development, will be issued to energy companies; Engie Renewables Australia, ATCO Australia and Australian Gas Networks Limited.

ARENA had received 36 expressions of interest from across Australia, which was reduced to seven in the assessment process before the selection of the final three projects.

ARENA will provide up to $42.5 million for Engie to develop a 10MW electrolyser in partnership with Yara Pilbara Fertilisers at an existing plant in Western Australia. The 10MW electrolysers will be among the largest built so far in the world, according to a statement. The project will use renewable energy to produce green hydrogen for gas blending into existing natural gas pipelines.

ATCO Australia will leverage $28.7 million in ARENA funding to build a 10MW electrolyser for gas blending at the company’s Clean Energy Park in Western Australia.

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Australian Gas Networks Limited will receive $32.1 million in funding for a 10MW electrolyser at its Murray Valley Hydrogen Park in Wodonga, Victoria.

To support these projects ARENA has increased the funding envelope, originally $70 million, by $33.3 million. In total, these three projects have a combined project value of $161 million.

The projects will also play a significant role in supporting commercial-scale deployments of renewable hydrogen in Australia and help progress Australia’s pathway to achieving the Australian Government’s goal of ‘H2 under $2’.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said renewable hydrogen presents an opportunity to help reduce emissions globally and locally, to transform energy systems and create a new export industry for Australia.

“We’re excited to have chosen three projects we believe will help kickstart renewable hydrogen production in Australia at a large scale. One of the projects will see clean hydrogen used to make ammonia for export and the other two will blend clean hydrogen into our gas pipelines to help decarbonise our natural gas networks.

“Our hydrogen industry in Australia is in its infancy, so the lessons learned from these three projects – and the entire funding round – will be important in driving our future hydrogen economy.

ARENA has been active in the clean hydrogen sector since 2016 and has already committed over $57 million to hydrogen projects including $22.1 million towards 16 R&D projects.