The Western Australian government is providing additional funding to progress two green hydrogen hubs, and is calling on the federal government to match its commitment.

The state government intends to invest up to A$117.5 million (US$84.6 million) to attract federal funding for green hydrogen hubs in Western Australia’s Pilbara and Mid-West regions.

It lodged applications this week through the federal government's Clean Hydrogen Industrial Hubs programme for matching Commonwealth funding to develop the two hubs.

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The planned Pilbara hub involves the development of a hydrogen or ammonia pipeline connecting the Maitland and Burrup strategic industrial areas. It will also see the creation of a Clean Energy Training and Research Institute based out of both Karratha and Port Hedland, and port upgrades for export opportunities.

The proposed Mid-West hub would see funding directed towards the construction of renewable energy and road infrastructure at the Oakajee Strategic Industrial Area, as well as connecting the area to power and water, and developing hydrogen refuelling infrastructure.

Capitalising on WA's renewable resources

The Western Australia government claims the hubs will capitalise on the state’s natural advantages of abundant solar and wind resources, available land, existing export infrastructure and strong trading partnerships in the region.

"The Pilbara and Mid-West are second to none among regions around the country in offering the competitive advantages needed to drive successful local hydrogen industries,” Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan said on Thursday.

Western Australia’s Hydrogen Industry Minister Alannah MacTiernan added that both the Mid-West and Pilbara regions were already attracting global attention for their green hydrogen potential.

"Our government has made this major commitment to unleash that potential and deliver the infrastructure we need to fast-track local renewable hydrogen production and exports,” she said.

"We want to partner with the federal government to embrace this job-creating opportunity for Western Australia, which will make a significant contribution to global efforts towards net zero emissions.”

The state government claims the two green hydrogen hubs would create roughly 2000 skilled and semi-skilled jobs across Australia's largest state.

The Western Australian government has set the ambitious target of developing 100 gigawatts of renewable energy by the end of the decade for green hydrogen production, with a goal for that figure to double by 2040.

Green vs Blue

Blue hydrogen is produced from natural gas feedstocks, with the carbon dioxide by-product from hydrogen production captured and stored. However, the process is not emissions free.

Green hydrogen is made using electrolysis powered by renewable energy to split water molecules into oxygen and hydrogen, creating an emissions-free fuel.

The bid for fresh funding from the federal government comes just a day after resources industry body the Chamber of Minerals & Energy of WA (CME) unveiled a report setting out the opportunities and challenges for Western Australia’s nascent hydrogen industry.

The CME highlighted advantages Australia possesses for blue and green hydrogen production, but also warned it was crucial WA keeps pace with the development of its hydrogen industry with that of emerging global competitors, highlighting the Middle East in particular.