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Victoria turns to hydrogen for power grid resilience

State Gas HDNG

The Victorian Government has unveiled a new renewable hydrogen backup system in Neerim North to enhance energy resilience during storms and other extreme weather events.

The initiative, part of a broader $1.1 million investment in the Telstra hydrogen fuel cell pilot project, aims to maintain mobile coverage during power outages.

Victoria’s Minister for Energy and Resources Lily D’Ambrosio launched the 10-kilowatt renewable hydrogen generators, capable of providing up to 72 hours of backup power.

The system uses hydrogen fuel cells, which function similarly to batteries, producing electricity from the supplied fuel.

“Victoria’s gas substitution roadmap confirms that renewable hydrogen will play a critical, targeted role in the energy transition by strengthening energy resilience as we keep communities powered reliably and affordably,” D’Ambrosio said.

The pilot project has installed five hydrogen fuel cells in communities that have experienced extreme storms, including Coldstream, Kinglake, Christmas Hills, and Chum Creek.

This initiative is part of the $6.6 million renewable hydrogen commercialisation pathways fund, which also supports projects by companies such as Volgren Australia, Viva Energy, Energys Australia, and Boundary Power.

Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing said the Victorian Government is focused on delivering more renewables.

“This is to ensure communities are better supported during emergencies to maintain vital communications with emergency services during outages,” she said.

The hydrogen fuel cells were manufactured by Energys Australia at their Mulgrave factory. The company has also received support through the commercialisation pathways fund for a renewable hydrogen production facility to promote the uptake of renewable hydrogen in Victoria.

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