Federal election 2022: Scott Morrison promises two new hydrogen projects in WA

Hannah CrossSound Telegraph
Prime Minister Scott Morrison at a press conference on Tuesday morning.
Camera IconPrime Minister Scott Morrison at a press conference on Tuesday morning. Credit: Justin Benson-Cooper/The West Australian

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has pledged $200 million for four new hydrogen hubs in Western Australia, with one earmarked for a BP-run project in the Kwinana industrial area.

Speaking at a Chamber of Minerals and Energy event in Perth on Tuesday, Mr Morrison committed $70m to support BP Australia’s H2Kwinana Clean Hydrogen Industrial Hub under the Coalition Government’s Clean Hydrogen Industrial Hubs program.

BP Australia announced in October 2020 that it would cease fuel production at its Kwinana refinery and, following discussions with the State Government, it later committed to exploring opportunities for using the site as a renewable energy hub.

In September 2021, the WA Government awarded BP $300,000 under its Renewable Hydrogen Fund for a feasibility study for green hydrogen and clean fuel production at the site.

The CSIRO’s hydrogen industry division, HyResource, says the study is still under evaluation and is “investigating initial 50-150 megawatts (MW) of green hydrogen production”.

The Kwinana industrial area
Camera IconThe Kwinana industrial area. Credit: Kwinana Industries Council

BP Australia welcomed the new funding in a press release, adding it would “soon release the outcomes of a feasibility study into the production of green hydrogen at the site”.

President of BP Australia and SVP fuels & low carbon solutions Asia Pacific Frederic Baudry the company is “delighted” by the funding announcement.

“We believe hydrogen will play a central role in the decarbonisation of Australia’s hard-to-abate sectors — particularly heavy industry, mining and transport — and we have the experience, expertise and commercial partnerships to make that happen.” Mr Baudry said.

The Prime Minister on Tuesday also committed another $70m to a hydrogen hub in the Pilbara which will be run by the State Government alongside “a range of local and international partners”.

“These hubs focus on regions where producers, users and potential exporters of hydrogen are co-located,” Mr Morrison said in his address at the CME event.

“We will invest $70m in the Pilbara Hydrogen Hub, joining with the WA Government on a range of local and international partners.

“And we’ll invest a further $70m in the H2Kwinana clean energy Clean Hydrogen Industrial Hub, led by BP Australia and Macquarie Corporate Holdings.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is in Perth ahead of the Federal Election. Pictured is the PM at a CME function in Perth
Camera IconPrime Minister Scott Morrison speaking at the CME function in Perth. Credit: Justin Benson-Cooper/The West Australian

BP’s H2Kwinana project and the State Government’s Pilbara hub, have total project values of more than $252.5m and $140m, respectively.

Together, it is estimated the two hydrogen hubs will create more than 3600 jobs for WA and bring more than $410m in new private and public investment to the State.

A further $6m was committed to support the development of another two hydrogen projects in the Pilbara and Carnarvon.

The announcement came ahead of Mr Morrison’s two days of campaigning in Perth ahead of the May election.

Brand MP Madeleine King said Labor supported the projects, adding that “an Albanese Labor Government will make these investments in hydrogen hubs to grow WA’s future energy export industries”.

“I have long been advocating for Australia to diversify both the products we export, and the markets we export to. Exporting businesses employ 28 per cent more staff than non-exporting businesses, and on average pay 11 per cent higher wages,” Ms King said.

“I am excited about the enormous potential for upstream processing in the low-emissions energy and critical minerals sectors, including new projects and proposals for the Kwinana Industrial Area.”

It is not the first hydrogen plant to be planned for the Kwinana industrial area, with Woodside announcing in October last year it had plans to build a hydrogen and ammonia plant in the precinct in 2022.

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