It’s now almost a cliché that green hydrogen has become the new gold rush of our times and this is a global phenomenon. Yet it’s quite ironic that only three years ago we were being laughed out of ministers’ offices in many developing economies – particularly India – when we raised the prospect of green hydrogen to address energy imbalances and oil import deficits. Hydrogen was considered expensive and too “over the horizon” for active consideration by incumbent governments.
Now a confluence of factors have worked together to create a paradigm shift in the mindset for clean energy and mobility. The great Covid-19 lockdowns, supply chains collapsing, oil and freight price volatility, geopolitical instability (and recently war in Europe) have helped focus the minds of policymakers and regulators in many countries on implementing strategies to de-lever from our collective addiction to hydrocarbon based energy sources.
At the same time as this was happening, another breathtaking trend was taking place in the developed world: we witnessed massive PE/VC funding rounds for starts-up and companies working on technology to reduce the cost of generating green hydrogen. Both trends together seem to have helped give policymakers and regulators globally the confidence they needed at prioritise clean hydrogen generation as a short and mid-term objective.
Australia was one of the first countries to recognise the impact that the coming hydrogen economy will have on coal and gas/hydrocarbon-based exports and moved quickly to position itself as a potential future leader in hydrogen exports. Many countries in the EU followed with their own hydrogen blueprints. India came to the party a little later with the announcement of the National Hydrogen Mission in August 2021, and recently released its hydrogen policy in February 2022, aimed at positioning India squarely in the centre of the hydrogen economy. The opportunity to reduce dependence on oil imports and to create a potential export economy at the same time is the central focus of this policy.
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