Australia’s federal, state and territory governments are working together on activities under the National Hydrogen Strategy.
The Hydrogen Project Team is a group of federal and state and territory officials that shares information across jurisdictions and oversees these joint projects.
National Hydrogen Infrastructure Assessment
The Australian Government is leading a National Hydrogen Infrastructure Assessment in consultation with the states and territories. It is due for completion by 2022.
This assessment will:
- consider the infrastructure needs, availability and gaps in hydrogen supply chains across Australia
- support future decisions to invest in hydrogen
- be an essential step in developing hydrogen hubs
- help enable hydrogen export.
Hydrogen gas reforms
On 20 August 2021, Energy Ministers agreed that the national gas regulatory framework should be amended to bring hydrogen, bio-methane and other renewable gas blends within its scope. This will include amendments to:
- the National Gas Law (NGL), the National Gas Regulations, the National Gas Rules (NGR), procedures and other subordinate instruments made under the NGL and/or NGR
- the National Energy Retail Law (NERL), the National Energy Retail Regulations and the National Energy Retail Rules (NERR).
Jurisdictional officials, the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) and the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) have each been tasked with progressing different aspects of the reforms.
Officials will identify and develop amendments to the NGL, NERL and regulations, the AEMC will identify and develop amendments to the NGR and NERR, and AEMO will identify and develop amendments to the procedures and other AEMO-made instruments required for settlement and metering in the facilitated and regulated retail gas markets.
Energy Ministers agreed to an expedited process to complete these reforms. A draft legislative package is to be presented to Ministers for approval by mid-2022 and draft rules in the latter half of 2022.
Hydrogen gas review
The Australian Government is also undertaking work to complete the review of hydrogen in gas networks under Action 3.12 of the National Hydrogen Strategy.
This included a review of the National Gas Law, which informed Energy Ministers’ decision to expedite these amendments.
The review is also considering:
- options for a framework to set and update the volume of hydrogen that can be blended in gas networks
- the economics of blending and the eventual use of 100% hydrogen in Australian gas networks.
Legal frameworks review
The Australian Government is reviewing legal frameworks and standards relevant to hydrogen industry development and safety.
The review will determine:
- if existing regulatory frameworks will enable industry development and ensure safety
- any amendments required to ensure appropriate regulation.
We are working with states and territories to coordinate this review and develop a work program for the required regulatory reforms.
Skills and training
South Australian members of the Hydrogen Project Team are leading work on skills, training and emergency services for hydrogen industry development. This project will support future development of nationally consistent training materials and guidelines for producing, handling, using and transporting hydrogen. It will use resources available through Australia’s membership of the US-based Center for Hydrogen Safety.
In 2020, the Australian Government made a commitment to subsidise Australian emergency services workers to participate in hands-on training courses from the Center for Hydrogen Safety. These courses could not be delivered as planned due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Australian Government is working with the Australasian Fire and Emergency Services Authorities Council on how to best deliver this and other training to emergency services workers.
Engaging the community is vital to developing a hydrogen industry that benefits all Australians. Tasmanian members of the Hydrogen Project Team are laying the groundwork for a community education program that will provide clear and accessible information about the risks, benefits and safe use of hydrogen. The program will also support best-practice for community engagement with an interjurisdictional communications and engagement working group overseeing this work stream.