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Western Australia

Hydrogen investment brings hope to the Latrobe Valley

March 28, 2023

A $2.3 billion investment by the Japanese Government to commercialise a coal-to-hydrogen plant in Victoria is set to create 1,000 ongoing jobs in the Latrobe Valley and the Port of Hastings.

This investment is a great step towards providing career pathways for coal mining and power workers facing displacement.

This project will create hope and opportunity for working families in the Latrobe Valley, where prior and impending coal-fired power station closures were creating deep anxiety for the region’s future.

The HESC pilot project has demonstrated that carbon-neutral hydrogen can be economically generated from Latrobe Valley coal and transported to Japan.

Expanding and commercialising this project helps the Japanese economy’s energy transition, while also building a viable new industry to support the economic transition of the Latrobe Valley.

Mark Richards, Victorian District Secretary said that the project will create more than 1,000 jobs in the operational phase, with about half of those jobs in the Latrobe Valley.

“Modelling done following the HESC trial has identified 500 ongoing jobs in the Latrobe Valley and 500 ongoing jobs in the Port of Hastings.”

“Workers in coal-fired power stations and the mining industry are incredibly relieved that there appears to be a genuine pathway to the jobs of the future, while meeting environmental concerns.

“We speak a lot about jobs of the future, but it’s difficult to grasp what exactly that will look like.

“With this announcement, workers in the Latrobe Valley can now actually see where they may be working in the future, and what those jobs will actually entail and that is really important.”

We are hopeful this can open a pathway for producing other carbon-neutral products from Latrobe Valley coal.

The hydrogen plant is the first real step towards economic diversification of the Latrobe Valley and could open a pathway for producing other carbon-neutral products from Latrobe Valley coal including urea, ammonia and Adblue, supporting Australia’s self-sufficiency in these products.

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