Hydrogen a key element to Wollongong’s clean energy future

Wollongong is keen to play a key role in Australia’s decarbonised energy future, with the city proposed as the ideal location for large-scale clean energy hydrogen production.

The NSW Standing Committee on State Development is currently undertaking an Inquiry into the development of the hydrogen industry within NSW to understand the current state of, and future opportunities for, the development of a hydrogen industry in NSW.

Council responded to the Inquiry by endorsing a submission that outlines the City of Wollongong’s competitive advantages for a growing hydrogen industry and opportunities with the next phase of development of a large-scale hydrogen hub in Port Kembla.

“Wollongong City Council is committed to a clean energy future. Port Kembla’s major industrial seaport, our international trade links and partnerships with innovative industries and university organisations, makes Wollongong an ideal location to invest in hydrogen production,” Wollongong City Lord Mayor Councillor Gordon Bradbery AM said.

“Council’s Our Wollongong 2028 goal aims to ensure that we work towards building an innovative and sustainable economy. To achieve this vision, we need to ensure our city is ready to transition to an environmentally sustainable future that values and invests in renewable energy industries.”

The port of Port Kembla and broader Wollongong region has already attracted the attention of several significant projects that will provide early-stage opportunities for the adoption of hydrogen and development of a regional industry to support the hydrogen supply chain.

In November 2019, the Commonwealth of Australia released Australia’s National Hydrogen Strategy which identified the port of Port Kembla as a potential hydrogen export hub.

The emerging hydrogen industry and related industries have the potential to create many new jobs in NSW and Wollongong. This aligns with Council’s Economic Development Strategy 2019-29, which sets an ambitious target to achieve 10,500 net new jobs within Wollongong over the next decade.

“In the past, Wollongong was best known for our world class steel making and coal mining industry. Today, the City of Wollongong has grown to become an important knowledge service centre, a globally connected trade hub and internationally recognised university city,” said Cr Bradbery.

“As the regional capital of the Illawarra, Wollongong currently contributes $12.2billion, or 60%, to the Illawarra’s economy and by 2041, our city will be home to more than 265,000 residents. Our city will continue to grow, and clean energy is a potential target investment sector that could support the future of Wollongong.”

Council’s submission to the Inquiry also supports the recently adopted target of achieving net zero emissions by 2050, and net zero emissions for Council operations by 2030.

These targets follow Council becoming a signatory to the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy in 2017 and joining the City Power Partnership Program in 2019. In 2019, Wollongong City Council joined cities across the world by declaring a state of climate emergency.

“Last year, we adopted two key strategic documents, The Climate Change Mitigation Plan 2020 and Sustainable Wollongong 2030: A Climate Healthy City Strategy. These documents outline our vision for the future of Wollongong and what we plan to achieve as a city over the next few years,” said Cr Bradbery.

“We want to make sure that Wollongong is a healthy and sustainable city into the future. The Inquiry gives us an opportunity to demonstrate our ambition to become a leader in clean energy production within Australia. Wollongong has the capacity, professional knowledge, community and stakeholder support and resources to make this work and we welcome the opportunity to provide a submission.

“As the steel industry explores options to decarbonise production, hydrogen could play a significant role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

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