Australia steps up hydrogen funding ahead of climate talks

A worker stands on top of a wind turbine during a routine inspection at Infigen Energy’s wind farm in the hills surrounding Lake George, 50 km north of the Australian capital of Canberra, May 13, 2013. REUTERS / David Gray

MELBOURNE, Sept.20 (Reuters) – Australia on Monday announced it would increase subsidies for hydrogen projects to boost clean energy production, as it faces international pressure to set targets for more ambitious carbon emissions reduction for 2030.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the government will provide an additional A $ 150 million ($ 108 million), bringing grants to A $ 464 million for feasibility studies and construction of hydrogen projects at seven centers, against five, across the country.

“We are accelerating the development of our Australian hydrogen industry and our ambition is to produce the world’s cheapest clean hydrogen, transforming our transportation, energy, resources and manufacturing sectors,” said Morrison said in a joint statement with Energy Minister Angus Taylor.

The announcement came as Morrison traveled to Washington for “Quad” talks with US President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with climate policy on the agenda.

The Conservative government has resisted international pressure to commit to a net zero carbon target for 2050 or larger reductions than a plan to cut emissions from 26% to 28% by 2030 from levels 2005 before the UN climate summit in November.

Instead, it pledged to spend A $ 18 billion over 10 years on a range of technologies to help reduce emissions, such as hydrogen, energy storage, and fuel capture and storage. carbon.

The subsidies for the hydrogen projects come on top of A $ 1.2 billion the government has allocated for investment in hydrogen, including low-cost financing, aimed at reducing the cost of producing hydrogen at less than AU $ 2 per kg.

Germany, by comparison, has pledged to invest more than 8 billion euros ($ 9 billion) in large-scale hydrogen projects. Read more

Australia’s hydrogen industry has said the government needs more to help the industry reach commercial scale.

“It is certainly a vote of confidence in the industry and we hope there will be more to come,” Australian Hydrogen Council chief executive Fiona Simon said in a statement.

($ 1 = AU $ 1.3831)

($ 1 = € 0.8538)

Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Tom Hogue

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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