With the war in Ukraine driving up oil and gas prices, alternative sources of clean energy, particularly green hydrogen, underscore NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet’s trade mission to Japan.
Mr Perrottet is hoping to put various scandals dogging his government behind him, and sell NSW as an attractive location for supply of hydrogen.
“We are targeting production of 110,000 tonnes of green hydrogen per annum by 2030,” the premier told Japanese business leaders and officials in Tokyo on Thursday.
“We are aiming to cut the cost of green hydrogen production by more than 50 per cent.”
Green hydrogen refers to that produced from electrolysis – splitting hydrogen from oxygen in water – using renewable electricity with zero direct emissions.
Its applications include generation, transport and heating.
Hydrogen is widely seen as critical to decarbonising industries that rely on coal, gas and oil.
Last year the NSW government released its Hydrogen Strategy, which includes $3 billion in incentives and seeks to attract $80 billion of investment in new hydrogen infrastructure.
Mr Perrottet will be visiting the Iwatani Hydrogen Refuelling Station in metropolitan Tokyo on Friday to launch the Japanese version of an investment strategy.
But experts on economic ties between both countries warn the switch to a hydrogen energy mix will not happen overnight.
“It’s still a long way to go to make hydrogen a full-fledged energy source due to its production costs,” Australian National University PhD candidate Yuma Osaki told AAP.
“Japan is a leader in fuel cell technology, especially fuel cell vehicles, but there are only 55 hydrogen refuelling stations across Tokyo … and the number of conventional gas stations is 80 times larger.
“It is unrealistic to expect that hydrogen could serve as an alternative to the existing energy source, even though Japan sees reliance on hydrocarbon as inevitable in the short term.”
Mr Perrottet’s first overseas trip as premier has come at a tumultuous time for the government.
Former deputy premier John Barilaro is embroiled in growing controversy over his appointment to a US trade commissioner’s job, while ex Liberal minister John Sidoti was on Wednesday found to have engaged in serious corrupt conduct by the ICAC.