Friday, September 22, 2023

River Murray under threat by Labor’s $600m hydrogen plant that won’t lower energy bills: Patterson, Girolamo

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The Hon. Stephen Patterson, Shadow Minister for Energy and Net Zero (SA), The Hon. Heidi Girolamo, Chair of Budget and Finance Committee (SA), Joint Media Release, 23 May 2023

Peter Malinauskas’ experimental hydrogen plant could raid precious water resources from the River Murray to operate, it has been revealed, alongside confirmation SA households won’t see a cent of energy bill relief despite $600 million taxpayer investment.

Appearing before Budget and Finance Committee on Monday, Office of Hydrogen Power South Australia Chief Executive, Sam Crafter, confessed:

  • The River Murray could be raided as a water resource to operate the hydrogen plant.
  • The hydrogen power plant won’t deliver cheaper electricity bills for SA households.
  • $593m cost doesn’t include associated infrastructure like transmission and pipelines.
  • Labor has broken its promise of 3,600 tonnes of liquified hydrogen storage.

Mr Crafter said Labor was working towardswater solutions” for the hydrogen plant with industry experts saying it takes up to 20 tonnes of water to make just one tonne of hydrogen.

“That will involve solutions from existing SA Water infrastructure, and some of that comes from the (River) Murray” he said.

“We are going through a process to be able to work that out and what that means for the Upper Spencer Gulf and water supply to the region more broadly as well…. We are working with the state’s water authority to work out how best to access the water that we need.”

Mr Crafter was asked on 23 separate occasions whether Labor’s $600 million hydrogen power plant would lower household electricity bills and on each occasion all he could respond with was: “The targeted objective of this power plant is to lower prices for industrial customers”.

Shadow Minister for Energy and Net Zero, Stephen Patterson, slammed Peter Malinauskas for the lack of detail around his $600 million experimental hydrogen power plant.

“We are the driest state in the driest continent in the world, and Peter Malinauskas doesn’t know where he is sourcing the huge amounts of water needed to run this experimental hydrogen plant that does nothing to reduce the cost of SA electricity bills,” Mr Patterson said.

“As it stands, Labor’s hydrogen power plant seems more a fantasy than a reality with Peter Malinauskas’ handpicked Chief Executive unable to answer basic questions about how it will work and what benefit taxpayers will see.

“South Australians are living through a cost of living crisis and many would be shocked to know Labor are spending $600 million on a power plant which won’t lower household electricity bills.

“We’ve also uncovered another broken promise from Peter Malinauskas – his hydrogen plant won’t have 3,600 tonnes of liquified hydrogen storage like he guaranteed. It will be much, much less but the exact number remains a secret and Labor won’t explain.”

Budget and Finance Committee Chair Heidi Girolamo said more serious questions have raised than answered.

“If Peter Malinauskas is willing to backflip on his guarantee of 3,600 tonnes of liquified hydrogen storage, what other promises will he walk away from?” Ms Girolamo said.

“As has been the case with Peter Malinauskas’ experimental hydrogen plant since day one, it appears that Labor is making it up as it goes.

“Promises are made by Labor, and then are broken down the track and today’s Committee has proved that point once again. Peter Malinauskas cannot be trusted to keep his word.”


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