21 April 2021

The region’s peak business advocacy organisation, Business Illawarra, has welcomed the Federal Government’s pre-Budget announcement to allocate $540 million for ‘clean energy’ projects in hydrogen and carbon capture and storage.

“The announcement of $275.5 million towards the development of four hydrogen hubs is important recognition of the potential of hydrogen as a clean energy fuel of the future,” said Executive Director of Business Illawarra, Adam Zarth.

“The $263.7 million towards carbon capture and storage projects and hubs is also a step towards helping fossil fuel intensive industries to reduce their emissions.”

“However, it is concerning that the Illawarra does not appear on the Federal Government’s list of hydrogen hubs, which is misaligned with the NSW Government’s welcome decision to recognise the great potential of Port Kembla as a hydrogen hub, with the Illawarra’s consolidation of related industries, enabling infrastructure and technically skilled workforce,” said Mr Zarth.

“Business Illawarra supports the Federal Government’s objective to commercialise low emissions technologies in order to meet climate change targets. While business will lead, Government support for carbon exposed businesses, particularly in energy intensive heavy industry, such as steel manufacturing, will be crucial to realising these goals.”

“We also need clear plans to transition to a low carbon economy that carefully consider the needs of exposed industries, including our coal miners and steel manufacturers. Business needs certainty, and the government needs to telegraph a clear plan for industry transition to guide their investment decisions in the interim.”

“Already, the Illawarra is attracting significant private investment in future energy projects; notably Australian Industrial Energy’s Liquified Natural Gas Terminal, and its subsidiary Squadron Energy’s proposed ‘dual fuel’ (gas and green hydrogen) power station at Port Kembla. This investment represents very clear validation of the great potential of Port Kembla and the Illawarra as a centre of future industry and energy production.