The Australia Institute says the development of a hydrogen energy sector in Australia has been promoted as a lower-emissions alternative to Australian coal and gas exports, but it could provide a new lease of life for fossil fuels.
“There is a significant risk that the promise of hydrogen as a low-carbon alternative, for domestic use and export, could backfire,” The Australia Institute says.
“The development of Australia’s hydrogen industry could be used as a proverbial Trojan horse, to provide a new lease of life for fossil fuels through the production of hydrogen.”
The government is in a position to regulate and guide the hydrogen industry over the next 50 years, and The Australia Institute suggests green hydrogen as a solution, presenting Australia with a potential zero-carbon energy source for domestic and international use.
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“The Government should avoid past mistakes and prevent hydrogen being used as a vehicle for the extension or even expansion of fossil fuels,” The Australia Institute says.
“Recent research suggests that large-scale renewable hydrogen might be cost-competitive with fossil-fuel based hydrogen within the next five years if relatively modest government incentives are implemented.
“A commitment to renewable hydrogen would help to diversify Australia’s exports, reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, create a future-proofed and resilient national hydrogen industry, contribute to long-term economic prosperity and yield genuine greenhouse gas reductions.”
Read the full report Hydrogen and Climate: Trojan Horse or Golden Goose? here.