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Hunter Hydrogen Hub funding erupts into war of words

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A war of words has erupted over the latest funding announcement for the Hunter Hydrogen Hub.

The Port of Newcastle facility received a further vote of confidence on Thursday 28 April when Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor declared the project would receive $41 million.

Incumbent Newcastle federal MP Sharon Claydon welcomed the news, saying Labor was willing to match the monetary commitment.

But, she also questioned whether the Liberal government could be trusted to deliver on hydrogen when multiple Coalition members were openly scathing of the industry.

The project, a joint venture between Macquarie Capital and Macquarie’s Green Investment Group, is currently undergoing an ARENA-funded feasibility study and being developed with a phase one minimum 40MW electrolyser that, over time, could increase to a capacity of more than 1GW.

Today’s funding declaration positions Port of Newcastle as a leading site to establish a hydrogen hub, according to CEO Craig Carmody, with connectivity to domestic and export infrastructure, proximate demand and access to renewable energy.

“The federal government recognises our role as a key player in the emerging global [green hydrogen] economy,” he said.

“The significance of this funding cannot be understated.

“By 2025, we hope to have phase one of the Hydrogen Hub complete, which will benefit a range of local industries.

“It [funding] also complements the recent $100 million in federal government funding for hydrogen readiness, which will focus on preparing the land and infrastructure, while the DISER funding provides the platform for a ready transition to phase one construction.”

Ms Claydon admitted she had reservations about Liberal’s obligation.

“The government waged a war on Labor’s hydrogen policy at the last election – it was derided as snake oil and it’s clear they haven’t changed their tune,” she said.

“Matt Canavan was quoted as saying ‘we don’t need hydrogen. Hydrogen hubs are not going to defend us against military bases in the Solomon Islands’.

“Then Colin Boyce added: ‘hydrogen has got some specific problems to it that are huge in terms of turning hydrogen into industrial production, specifically, water’.

“Direct support for hydrogen hubs, production and storage is important.

“However, it’s only part of the picture.

“Demand for green hydrogen is directly linked to the energy policy certainty and ambitious climate policy.

“And, instead, we have a ‘Coalition of Chaos’ that is already walking away from their farcical duty to net zero emissions by 2050.

“The Deputy Prime Minister, Barnaby Joyce, has backed his candidates that say net zero 2050 is no more.

“We can say goodbye to a green hydrogen industry with another decade of this nonsense.”

For more information on the Port of Newcastle Hydrogen Hub project, visit https://www.portofnewcastle.com.au/projects-and-development/pon-hydrogen-hub-project/

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