What is the Advancing Hydrogen Fund?
The Advancing Hydrogen Fund is an initiative to support the growth of a clean, innovative, safe and competitive Australian hydrogen industry.
The Clean Energy Finance Corporation has welcomed the launch of the Advancing Hydrogen Fund, reflected in the Australian Government Clean Energy Finance Corporation Investment Mandate Direction 2020.
An early priority will see the CEFC seek to invest in projects included in the ARENA Renewable Hydrogen Deployment Funding Round. The ARENA Round is a $70 million grant program aiming to demonstrate the technical and commercial viability of hydrogen production at a large-scale using electrolysis.
The fund will draw on existing CEFC finance. In line with the CEFC Act, projects seeking CEFC finance through the Advancing Hydrogen Fund are required to be commercial, draw on renewable energy, energy efficiency and/or low emissions technologies and contribute to emissions reduction.
Through the Advancing Hydrogen Fund, the CEFC expects to provide either debt or equity finance to eligible larger-scale commercial and industrial projects, typically requiring $10 million or more of CEFC capital. CEFC investments typically include co-financiers and/or equity partners where possible.
CEFC finance for the hydrogen sector has the potential to deliver significant benefits:
- Drive large-scale deployment of electrolyser technologies: leading to technology cost reductions, improved supply chain expertise, increased industry expertise and offtake opportunities
- Catalyse the hydrogen industry: to accelerate the deployment of large-scale renewable energy hydrogen technologies, including demand-side projects to achieve price discovery, increase transparency of current and projected economies of scale, and increase skills and market knowledge
- Access to tailored finance: providing investing support to project proponents as they seek to accelerate hydrogen developments
- Support the implementation of the National Hydrogen Strategy: including its aims to create jobs, especially in regional areas, contribute to a cleaner environment, increase prosperity and enhance Australia’s fuel security.
The fund is aiming to invest up to $300 million to support the growth of a clean, innovative, safe and competitive Australian hydrogen industry.
In considering investment proposals for the Advancing Hydrogen Fund, the Mandate directs the CEFC to prioritise projects that promote the objectives of the National Hydrogen Strategy and that focus on one or more of the following:
- advancing hydrogen production projects
- developing export and domestic hydrogen supply chains, including hydrogen export industry infrastructure
- establishing hydrogen hubs
- other projects that assist in building domestic demand for hydrogen.
As with all CEFC investments, projects seeking finance through the Advancing Hydrogen Fund must be commercial, reflecting the CEFC’s requirement to deliver a positive return for taxpayers across the portfolio.
This does not include research and development, feasibility studies, prototypes, pilot projects or demonstration projects.