Bell Bay Industrial Precinct could be the site of a nationally significant hydrogen export hub under a $1.9 billion clean energy investment package to be announced by the federal government today.
The centerpiece of the package is additional funding of $1.6 billion for the Australian Renewable Energy Agency to invest in what Prime Minister Scott Morrison calls the next generation of energy technologies.
A $70.2 million regional hydrogen export hub will be a component of the overall plan and will be designed to take advantage of the expected growth in demand for the energy source.
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"The government will now focus its efforts on ... unlocking new technologies across the economy to help drive down costs, create jobs, improve reliability and reduce emissions," Mr Morrison said. "This will support our traditional industries - manufacturing, agriculture, transport - while positioning our economy for the future."
It's understood possible locations for the hydrogen hub include Bell Bay in Tasmania's North, the Latrobe Valley in Victoria, Darwin, the North-West of Western Australia, Gladstone in Queensland, the Hunter Valley in New South Wales and the Spencer Gulf in South Australia.
Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor said the government recognised the "strong growth in emerging energy technologies".
"We need to get the balance right and our investment to reenergise ARENA will deliver that," he said.
But the Climate Council's Tim Baxter said the government's announcement was an "act of vandalism" against ARENA and would divert taxpayers' money away from wind and solar towards more "risky, polluting projects".
The Tasmanian government earlier this year opened an expression of interest process for a $50 million package to support the development of a renewable hydrogen industry in the state, with plans for hubs at both Bell Bay and Burnie.
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