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Energy and Emissions Reduction - New Energy Agency

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Thursday, 9 September 2021

Tags: Hydro Tasmania, State Budget, Hydrogen

Dr WOODRUFF - Minister, Hydro made a statement a couple of weeks ago that said there was no energy available for hydrogen, and that seemed to confirm comments made in the media by Dr Twiggy Forrest, who said that Hydro wouldn't sell him any power at any cost.

On Monday, in the Climate Change portfolio, the Premier said he did not agree with Hydro's statement. Now the CEO has left and there is plenty of speculation that a rift has occurred between Government and Hydro. Is there tension between the GBE after the establishment of the Renewables, Climate and Future Industries Tasmania?

Mr BARNETT - The statement made by Hydro two days ago, on 6 September, makes the position clear of their willingness and support for working with the key proponents, helping business capitalise on the opportunities provided by our clean energy. They will continue to work with current and potential new major industrial customers on commercial arrangements for their projects. That is the position of Hydro.

The Renewable Hydrogen Action Plan makes it clear that we want to be producing hydrogen between 2022-24. I have indicated in response to the member's earlier question that we have every expectation of that occurring.

The announcement I made earlier today with respect to the Renewal Hydrogen Activation Program makes that clear. We have more than $12 million of the $50 million being expended and invested in renewable hydrogen here in Tasmania.

In very encouraging news for Tasmania, we'll have up to three Metro buses run on green hydrogen and that work is expected in the first half of next year.

Dr WOODRUFF - Have you established Renewables, Climate and Future Industries Tasmania because Hydro have been pushing their own barrow? Hydro has been incredibly powerful in the state and very influential of government policy. They've always liked to run their own game. Is this the end of an era, and are you calling them to heel?

Mr BARNETT - Thanks very much for the question. I've made it clear in my opening remarks about the importance of this new agency in the Treasury department, Renewables, Climate and Future Industries Tasmania. I've outlined the functions of that entity. This has been a long time of hard work and energy. I pay a tribute the Premier, Treasurer and former minister for Climate Change, with myself, my office and others to work towards achieving the establishment of this new entity. I thank the Premier for his support and his announcement at the State Budget, clearly setting the vision for Tasmania, which is to create a renewable hydrogen industry in Tasmania. We're pleased and proud for that and my announcement today bats in that.

Mr Winter, my counterpart, in his opening question, made a reference to another state. There is no state with a larger and more significant commitment to a renewable hydrogen industry than Tasmania - a $50 million commitment. When we made the $50 million commitment, that was the largest commitment of any state or territory at the time. We will have ongoing discussions and relationships with various proponents. We work with the various GBEs on a Team Tasmania approach. We're very committed to following through on our Renewable Hydrogen Action Plan. We are excited about it and I hope other members around this table, other members of the community, cannot only be excited about it but get behind it and promote Tasmania accordingly.