Hot debate over hydrogen

HYDRO ATTACK: Deputy Premier Dan van Holst Pellekaan has claimed the technology behind Labor's hydrogen plant is outdated.
HYDRO ATTACK: Deputy Premier Dan van Holst Pellekaan has claimed the technology behind Labor's hydrogen plant is outdated.

The technology behind Labor's planned hydrogen hub has become a hot topic in recent weeks with the state government claiming that advice from the Australian Energy Market Operator suggests it is outdated and like "dinosaur technology".

But the Opposition has hit back, obtaining a letter from the operator's chief executive officer, Daniel Westerman, saying that the body has not yet "formed a view or offered advice" on Labor's hydrogen policy.

Last year, Opposition leader Peter Malinauskas told how Labor, if elected, would build a 200Mw Hydrogen Power Station, 50MW hydrogen electrolysers and a Hydrogen Storage Facility in SA.

The plant would be a "combined cycle gas turbine" (CCGT), but Deputy Premier and Stuart MP Dan van Holst Pellekaan said the operator had "panned" this technology, suggesting it was too slow to meet the needs ot the grid.

It included the following quote from the operator:

"CCGTs have ... limited flexibility and can't effectively operate in a system where wind and solar are producing energy at very low cost at times."

Shadow Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis says this refers to to private investment into the electricity grid, with their generator to be a public asset.

"We are proposing another generator to serve the public, not shareholders offshore," he said.

"The AEMO has not done any assessment on Labor's Hydrogen Job's Plan."

Besides the operator, Mr van Holst Pellekaan included comments from experts such as Simon Holmes à Court, Director of the Smart Energy Council, who said that a turbine "makes no sense in SA".

The Hydrogen Strategy Group, chaired by Dr Alan Finkel, backed these suggestions, noting that hydrogen generators are inefficient compared to big batteries, which lose only 10 per cent of the power they consume to charge.

Mr van Holst Pellekaan said the use of "outdated" technology would mean the plant would be unable to turn on or off fast enough to support the state's power grid.

"The grid operator says Labor's proposed generator is too slow - it is a dinosaur technology that is going extinct," he said.

Mr Koutsantonis said his party made no apology for for committing to build baseload power in South Australia.

"My suggestion to the Deputy Premier is get back to work. South Australia is in the grip of an out-of-control COVID wave, that his government introduced in SA without being prepared - local businesses and the public are suffering," he said.

It comes as Whyalla continues to angle for a hydrogen hub to be built at Port Bonython, with a similar hub to be built in Port Pirie at the Nyrstar Smelter.

NO JUDGEMENT: Shadow Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis says the AEMO has now provided advice on Labor's hydrogen policy.

NO JUDGEMENT: Shadow Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis says the AEMO has now provided advice on Labor's hydrogen policy.

This story Hot debate over hydrogen first appeared on Whyalla News.