New policy and guidance for renewable hydrogen projects

  • WA Government releases new policy and guidance for large-scale renewable hydrogen projects
  • Policy and guidance outlines process for access and use of Crown land
  • Supports WA’s rapidly growing renewable hydrogen industry
  • The Western Australian Government is providing certainty and clarity to large-scale hydrogen proponents looking to access or use Crown land, with the release of a new policy and guidance.

    Hydrogen Industry Minister Alannah MacTiernan today shared the policy and guidance with industry stakeholders at the Australian Hydrogen Conference (West) 2022.

    As WA’s renewable hydrogen industry continues to grow, the WA Government anticipates that access to Crown land will only increase.

    Proponents of large-scale hydrogen projects need to consider a number of factors when developing a proposal, including the existing land tenure over the site being proposed, the underlying interest holders of the land, including native title rights and interests, the various stakeholders with an interest in the site, and the legislative framework for gaining short and long-term access to the site.

    The Guidance for Land Tenure for Large Scale Renewable Hydrogen Projects outlines the WA Government’s preference that where more than one project proponent has an interest in the same area of Crown land, those project proponents and any existing interest holders co-exist.

    Co-existing can include sharing the same land at the same time or facilitating sequential uses of the same land. Agreement to co-exist will involve good faith and best endeavours negotiations and agreement making based on the development of ongoing working relationships.

    The Policy for Consideration of Highest and Best Use sets out the preferred, transparent and timely process for managing situations where negotiations do not lead to a co-existence arrangement between new competing projects proposed for the same area of land.

    The policy includes a criteria that will be used to assess whether a project will deliver the highest and best use of the relevant Crown land.

    The documents also provide practical guidance for renewable hydrogen proponents seeking early access to the Crown land to complete on-site feasibility and geotechnical studies.

    Recognising the costs of developing projects, exclusive S91 licences will be possible.

    When considering granting a single proponent licence for access for investigations (to the exclusion of other hydrogen proponents only), the guidance allows for a maximum area for exclusivity of 12,000 square kilometres but with flexibility if a justifiable reason is provided, and a maximum period for exclusive licences of two years plus a two-year extension.

    The development of the policy and guidance was led by the WA Renewable Hydrogen Ministerial Taskforce, with input from the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety; Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage; and Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation. The Western Australian Renewable Hydrogen Council was also consulted in the drafting process.

    The policy and guidance are available at https://www.wa.gov.au

    As stated by Hydrogen Industry Minister Alannah MacTiernan:

    “We are very conscious we need to help renewable hydrogen proponents navigate land tenure arrangements and to make those processes fit for purpose.

    “In addition to the more than $170 million we have invested in the State’s renewable hydrogen industry, we know that one of the best ways we can support projects is by providing certainty and clarity with policy and guidance.

    “The new policy and guidance released today are useful documents for any large-scale hydrogen project proponents hoping to access and use Crown land.”

    As stated by Lands Minister John Carey:

    “Our Government continues to support and invest in renewable energy industries to transform and strengthen our economy, and unlocking Crown land is a key component to this.

    “Access to Crown land is one of many ways the WA Government is helping facilitate more clean energy production, while creating skilled local jobs for the future.

    “The new policy and guidance outlines how the WA Government will make decisions when there are competing new projects proposed for the same area of land.”

    As stated by Energy Minister Bill Johnston:

    “The WA Government is committed to diversifying and decarbonising Western Australia’s economy.

    “Here in WA we have an abundance of the wind and solar resources needed to establish renewable hydrogen projects.

    “Through the new policy and guidance, we hope to see established projects from other industries co-exist with new renewable hydrogen projects.”

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