NT Government releases hydrogen masterplan

Photo by Zbynek Burival on Unsplash.

The Northern Territory aims to position itself at the forefront of the developing renewable hydrogen industry with the release of the Renewable Hydrogen Masterplan.

The state’s Minister for Renewables and Energy Eva Lawler said the emerging hydrogen sector in the state could be similar to the existing export LNG market – it is projected to generate over $3.7 billion into the state’s economy.

“This is an exciting new industry that is set to create new jobs and generate $3.7 billion into our economy – creating further opportunities for innovative projects, contributing to our emissions reductions, and bringing more private investment to the Northern Territory,” the Minister said.

“Our Masterplan explores opportunities to decarbonise our regional and remote areas using emerging hydrogen technologies, and I look forward to the results of the recent trial at Territory Generation’s Tennant Creek power station by Aqua Aerem that captures water from the atmosphere, providing a sustainable water supply needed for renewable hydrogen,” she added.

The Aqua Aerem, a joint venture from Australian companies Axcentium and Ahurei, has commenced a trial period on location in Tennant Creek since early this year.

The new Aqua Aerem technology captures water from the atmosphere in arid environments. It is an innovative approach to securing a sustainable water supply, which is essential in the development of renewable hydrogen. Tennant Creek’s high solar irradiance makes it an ideal location for the trial, which will collect local production data for further optimisation of the water capture process.

The Masterplan charts a pathway for the Territory Government to accelerate the development of a renewable hydrogen industry and outlines the enabling activities needed to secure private sector investment, including:

1.    Demonstration phase: The Government is currently working with proponents, to progress research and trials.

2.    Targeted application: The second phase will see the development of hydrogen production and end-use technologies.

3.    Large-scale production for export: The final stage will see production and use technologies sufficiently developed so they are cost competitive.

The Northern Territory Budget for 2021-22 had allocated $7.8 million in 2021-22, $10.5 million in 2022-23 and $9.5 million ongoing from 2023-24 to fund resource exploration for areas of high prospectivity, develop a market-led process for renewables in remote communities and undertake a hydrogen trial, and establish the Territory’s mineral development taskforce.

Alice Springs has a reputation for solar energy adoption and integration and was declared a Solar City under the National Program. The Masterplan intends to leverage the state’s existing renewable energy existing infrastructure and expertise, particularly in Alice Springs, for solar energy generation.

Moreover, the Masterplan envisions opportunities for Northern Territory investors to access Federal finance through the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, The Australian Renewable Energy Agency and the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund, arguing that states like South Australia have benefited from the Commonwealth Government’s Renewable Energy Target driving renewable energy development in their state.

This week, the Northern Territory Government released the Darwin –Katherine Electricity System Plan, which highlights the development of a renewable hydrogen industry supporting the Territory’s target of 50 per cent renewables by 2030 and commitment to net-zero emissions by 2050.

To view the Hydrogen Masterplan visit: https://territoryrenewableenergy.nt.gov.au/

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