Labor pledges $1b to developing hydrogen industry but more money needed for renewables
SYDNEY, Jan 22, 2018 - Greenpeace Australia Pacific welcomes the Labor Party’s announcement to spend $1 billion making Australia a renewable hydrogen exporter - a key step to making the nation a renewable superpower.
This morning the ALP unveiled a six-point plan to develop Australia’s hydrogen industry, with a focus on exports.
“It makes sense for the sunniest state of this sunburnt country to export liquid sunshine,” Greenpeace spokesperson Nicky Ison said.
“Renewable hydrogen is going to play an important role in lowering the climate pollution of some of our key trading partners such as Japan. It’s good to see the ALP’s looking to the future while the Coalition’s energy policies remain stuck in the past.”
Hydrogen gas is a near zero-emissions energy source that can be produced through the process of electrolysis using renewable energy.
The industry is expected to be worth $215 billion by 2022, with consultancy firm ACIL Allen forecasting that within 20 years Australia could earn $10 billion annually from exports alone, with 16,000 new jobs created, mainly in regional areas. 
While the news is welcome, Greenpeace has questioned Labor’s decision to fund hydrogen by taking $1 billion from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, as well as from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).
“Replacing dirty fossil fuels with hydrogen is a key step in Australia’s energy transition but any future Australian government must prioritise making the hydrogen boom clean,” Ms Ison said.
“This needs to go hand in hand with a rapid acceleration in clean energy investment, including upgrading the grid to handle all the rooftop solar and electricity from new large scale renewable projects coming online.”
To date $1 billion has been cut from ARENA’s budget. The ALP should return this funding, so that ARENA can continue to drive research, development and commercialisation of new clean energy technologies which in turn present huge economic opportunities for Australia,” Ms Ison said.
“That means we need to aim beyond 100 percent renewables to supply Australians and our neighbours with clean, renewable energy. As such, the ALP should also commit to continuing the current renewables boom in the next term of government.”
Greenpeace Australia Pacific Communications Campaigner, Martin Zavan
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