• ATCO supports future of hydrogen-based communities

    The potential of hydrogen to transform the energy sector is a step closer, with the recent national launch of the H2City industry model and KPMG’s ‘Hydrogen Communities – Assessment of Suitability of Communities for Conversion to Hydrogen’ Report.

    H2City is the result of a four-way collaboration between KPMG, ATCO, CSIRO, and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA). These entities worked together to develop a tool that can be used to assess the costs and benefits of a regional town or municipality switching to hydrogen.

    President of ATCO’s Gas Division, Stevan Green, said the H2City Tool and Assessment Framework would provide the screening framework to understand the point at which hydrogen becomes a significant, viable part of Australia’s low carbon energy future. 

    He added, ATCO is a proud co-collaborator in the project and said Australia’s gas sector, which includes hydrogen, is a vital part of securing a clean energy future.

    “ATCO believes Australia’s gas distribution networks will play a key role in the future energy mix,” said Mr Green. 

    “Beyond natural gas, the gas network has the potential to store and deliver ‘clean’ hydrogen, and to play a central role in reducing energy costs and carbon emissions.”

    KPMG Partner and WA Management Consulting Lead, James Arnott, said the H2City Tool is the first of its kind to calculate the break-even point when a hydrogen pathway is competitive with an electrification pathway, in order to provide energy to a community.

    “While it is sophisticated, it contains relevant cost and performance data provided by the CSIRO - as well as publicly sourced data – and significantly advances the Australian hydrogen debate in a practical way,” Mr Arnott said.

    Mr Arnott also pointed to research from the International Energy Agency (IEA) analysis, that the cost of producing hydrogen from renewable electricity could fall 30 percent by 2030, as a result of declining costs of renewables and the scaling up of hydrogen production1. 

    KPMG noted that governments around the world were signalling interest in moving the hydrogen economy forward. Australia was no exception having already progressed a number of local initiatives and investments in the hydrogen economy.

    ARENA’s Darren Miller also recognised the benefits of the H2City Tool.

    “H2City is an open source tool to assess the cost benefit and commercial feasibility of switching to renewable hydrogen at a municipal-scale,” said Mr Miller.

    “This will help the hydrogen industry, gas networks and energy developers and local communities to think about hydrogen, and will help us to accelerate Australia’s hydrogen industry which is one of our investment priorities,” said Mr Miller. 

    “Green hydrogen offers a major opportunity to provide carbon-free energy to cities and towns, while leveraging existing natural gas infrastructure.”

    CSIRO Energy Senior Research Scientist, Jenny Hayward said; “following CSIRO’s National Hydrogen Roadmap, and in addition to our ongoing research program, we are pleased to provide data to support the collaborative development of the H2City Tool”.

    Energy industry participants, government, transport and infrastructure agencies, developers and policy makers will all benefit from the H2City Tool, which can be accessed here.