No electrolyzer manufacturer would undertake to produce in WA until one or more of the major hydrogen hydrogen projects under consideration is launched, and they know they have a customer.
MacTiernan said state funds are there to get manufacturers ready for that investment decision to avoid a “chicken and egg problem” with neither hydrogen projects nor electrolyzer manufacturing taking off in WA as one group waits for the other.
“If we just hang back and wait for this to go on a normal cycle, we could potentially miss it,” she said.
The Minister of Hydrogen expects that the disadvantage of high wages in WA would be more than offset by a high level of automation and the increased desire for shorter, more reliable supply chains following the disruption of the pandemic.
Like WA, the Middle East can provide large tracts of land for wind turbines and solar panels needed to power electrolysers, but can also offer rapid decision-making for project advocates.
“The decision-making process in the Middle East is much simpler than in a mixed economy like ours, where the rights of a wide variety of people must be taken into account,” MacTiernan said.
“On the other hand, when it comes to the stability of the operating environment – sovereign risk – we do not hack people and put them in suitcases,” she said.
A crucial requirement for a green hydrogen project is secure ownership of an investment that is likely to cost tens of billions of dollars.
There is a new form of tenure in WA – known as diversification leases – under development to work with existing land use rights: pastoral leases, mining housing and domestic property rights.
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