By Sarah Smit
State and Federal Ministers met in Perth today to discuss how best to keep lights and air-con on for all Australians this summer and into the future.
The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Energy Council agreed upon a national hydrogen strategy to encourage the use of hydrogen in power generation and as an export.
In a press conference, Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor told reporters that hydrogen power technology offers clean and reliable power that can be used to keep the lights on across the country.
“This is very good news for an industry that offers very real potential for Australia using hydrogen as a source of low cost, affordable, reliable power into the future.”
COAG is looking to Japan and Korea as possible export markets for Australian hydrogen.
The national hydrogen strategy will take a technologically neutral approach as recommended by the Finkel Review, so that new hydrogen technologies can flourish.
“This is not the time to foreclose different ways of producing hydrogen, which would limit our ability to reduce those costs on the supply chain.”
Federal and State Governments are also funding research and development of hydrogen technologies.
One project is receiving $100 million in funding from the Commonwealth and Victorian governments.
The Energy Minister said that Australia is on target to meet our obligations under the Paris and Kyoto climate agreements, but that coal will be used in power generations for some time.
“Coal will continue to play an important role for many years to come.”
COAG also agreed to strengthen the national energy reliability standard but acknowledges that there is still a danger of power going out this summer.
“There is broad agreement across the national electricity market states, to strengthen that reliability standard, and make sure we have enough dispatchable power- gas coal, hydro, and batteries can play a role as well.”
“We know having enough dispatchable power in the system put downward pressure on prices, particularly at those peak times. When the sun goes down, you have to have enough power in the system.”