Hydrogen Industry | QUESTION TIME


Mrs POWER (Elder) (14:22): My question is to the Minister for Energy and Mining.

Can the minister update the house on the progress of the state’s renewable hydrogen industry?

The Hon. D.C. VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN (Stuart—Minister for Energy and Mining) (14:22): Yes, I can, and it’s a great pleasure to do this. I appreciate the question from the member for Elder. It was a great pleasure to be with the member for Elder, assistant minister with particular responsibility for domestic violence; the member for Morphett, the neighbouring MP to the north; and the Premier down at Hydrogen Park SA yesterday at the Tonsley Innovation Precinct. This is an absolutely fantastic project, which Australian Gas Infrastructure Group is pursuing with its subsidiary, Australian Gas Networks, here in Adelaide, a 1.25 megawatt electrolyser, which will take renewable energy, much of it from the acres of solar panels on the nearby roof of the Tonsley Innovation Precinct, and turn it into hydrogen.

That hydrogen will then be plumbed straight from the electrolyser to the Mitchell Park suburb nearby, on just the other side of the train line. Then there will be 700 houses receiving, initially, 5 per cent hydrogen into their existing natural gas reticulation system. Of course, there will then be a 5 per cent reduction in emissions straightaway. It is believed that that could increase to 10 per cent or 15 per cent without any harm to the reticulation system, without any need to change appliances or anything like that. Of course, out of an abundance of caution, we will start with 5 per cent.

The other key thing that is happening there is that tube trailers will be filled with green hydrogen produced on site. Then those trailers can transport the hydrogen to other parts of South Australia, primarily to industrial users. This is a very important step forward. It might interest the house to know that yesterday, when the Premier launched this new initiative, he was gracious enough to say that this was something that was started under the previous government. I think that is something that has been a hallmark of our government; is recognising good work which we have picked up. We have also had to recognise a lot of rubbish that we had to throw away, but where there were kernels of success we have given—

Members interjecting:

The SPEAKER: The member for West Torrens is warned for a second time.

The Hon. D.C. VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN: —credit to the previous government. I would also like to pay credit to the people in the Department for Energy and Mining who have worked incredibly hard on this project. This is one of four pilot plants to do with hydrogen which our government is pursuing very keenly and very aggressively.

The Premier, in September, launched the South Australian Hydrogen Action Plan, which is not just a strategy, not just a fluffy document saying, ‘Wouldn’t it be really nice if we got involved in hydrogen?’ It is actually a document with 20 key recommendations in five key areas focusing on investment, focusing on regulations, focusing on relationships with other partners—primarily other countries that might want to import our hydrogen—focusing on skills and focusing on bringing hydrogen into the South Australian economy.

The Premier and I and our government are all determined that in the not too distant future South Australia will be a world-leading hydrogen producer, hydrogen consumer and hydrogen exporter. It is independently estimated that by 2030 the hydrogen export business will be worth $1.7 billion and have 2,800 jobs attached to it. By 2040, that will have risen to $4.2 billion and have 7,000 jobs attached to it, and we are determined to retain our leadership position in South Australia and get as much of that economic, environmental and social benefit for our state as we can.