Industrial Relations, Transport Industry News

South Australia passes ‘world-first’ hydrogen bill

South Australia's new bill will give the state a framework for its renewable transport approach.

The Hydrogen and Renewable Energy Act 2023 is the nation’s first legislative framework designed to provide a coordinated approach to the burgeoning hydrogen and renewable energy industries. 

With unprecedented global interest in investing in and developing South Australian hydrogen and renewable energy, the bill paves the way for the planned green hydrogen electrolyser and hydrogen-based power plant near Whyalla. 

Energy and mining minister Tom Koutsantonis says it’s a historic day for South Australia.  

We’ve passed world-first legislation that is set to transform the state’s economy. Global policy makers will be closely watching what we’ve managed to achieve,” he says. 

The passage of this Bill through Parliament marks a significant milestone in the state’s energy transition, and in our journey as a leader in the clean energy revolution and the economic opportunities it provides. 

While the bill ultimately passed with unanimous legislative council support,a shuffle of ideological positions from the crossbench left the government “disappointed“. 

It’s disappointing to see the Greens joining forces with the State Liberal Party to try and frustrate the passage of this important and landmark legislation,” Koutsantonis says. 

I can confidently assure those that sought to stand in the way of this result that this Bill will prove to be a blueprint for other jurisdictions looking to harness the economic opportunity of clean, green energy. 

The new Act helps unlock the state’s pipeline of renewable energy projects, with a current estimated capital development investment of approximately $21 billion. 

Streamlining the process for companies wanting to invest in large-scale hydrogen and renewable energy projects in South Australia, the act brings issues such as land access, environmental impacts and native title rights into a single regulatory process. 

It also introduces the concept of release areas where developers and investors can compete to access some of the world’s best wind and solar resources on government-owned land. 

This change ensures the most appropriate projects are selected that address the social, economic and environmental needs of the region and the state. 

We have a unique opportunity ahead, and no time to waste. The Upper Spencer Gulf is home to some of the world’s most prospective wind and solar resources – it could prove the equivalent of finding oil in Saudi Arabia, or striking gold in Victoria,” Koutsantonis says. 

But to maximise this opportunity we must get our legislative and regulatory framework right, for the future.

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