S Australia readies legislation, land for H2 developers

The state government of South Australia is preparing hydrogen legislation that will streamline permitting of hydrogen projects and pave the way for the distribution of land to project developers, Peter Malinauskas said at the World Hydrogen Summit in Rotterdam.

Malinauskas’ government will present its hydrogen act to the state parliament in the next two weeks, he said. The act would combine all the existing regulatory frameworks into one and would enable the government to release large swathes of land to developers starting in the next four months, he added. The state has mapped its solar and wind resources and plans to make this available to developers.

The government sees producers of renewable hydrogen and downstream products as off-takers that would allow it to commercialise its large untapped solar and wind resources. The state has a surplus of renewable electricity at certain times of day which is leading to curtailment and it has a A$20bn ($13.38bn) renewable power project pipeline for which it needs off-takers, Malinauskas said.

South Australia envisages the creation of two hydrogen hubs around the Spencer Gulf – Port Bonython at the north tip and Cape Hardy on the west side of the gulf. The latter is the site of recently announced plans by Amp Energy for a 5GW capacity hydrogen plant and is expected to supply feedstock for a 5mn t/yr renewable ammonia plant.

The government plans to select a developer in July for a A$593mn hub at Whyalla, which includes a 250MW electrolyser and a 200MW hydrogen-fuelled power station, which will commence construction later this year and start producing hydrogen in 2025.

The state is working to relieve water scarcity, which has thwarted previous hydrogen projects and is collaborating with a copper mining company to develop a desalination plant that would also be able to provide water for electrolysis projects.

The government sees an opportunity to export hydrogen in the form of derivatives such as ammonia or to use it in the production of green iron and steel. It already has one potential off-taker in the existing 1mn t/yr Whyalla steelworks, which is expected to increase to 1.5mn t/yr, and needs renewable hydrogen to curb its emissions.

Engr. Haseeb Ullah

Haseeb covers the global energy market for both conventional and modern energy resources. His expertise is on the global energy supply chain from generation to distribution and end-users. He has a Master degree in Engineering Management and a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering.
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