SYDNEY, AAP – Truckies pinched by high fuel prices can look forward to a hydrogen highway linking three eastern states in a concerted renewables push for the industry.
In a landmark collaboration between NSW, Queensland and Victoria at an estimated cost of $20 million, four massive hydrogen refuelling stations between Sydney and Melbourne will initially be built.
The highway along Australia’s busiest freight routes will link the Hume Highway, the Pacific Highway and the Newell Highway by 2026.
NSW Energy Minister Matt Kean said the hydrogen highway will pave the way for decarbonisation of the heavy transport industry to reduce the effects of climate change.
“Renewable hydrogen will increasingly become a competitive zero emissions fuel option for our heavy transport sector, giving our trucking industry the opportunity to decarbonise their fleets,” Mr Kean said.
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The accelerated drive to wean off fossil fuels comes after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report warned last month Australia will have more floods, bushfires and droughts and stands to lose entire ecosystems to climate change.
Queensland Energy Minister Mick De Brenni said this couldn’t come at a better time when fuel prices are soaring on the back of the Ukraine conflict.
“When you consider the impacts of the COVID pandemic and international conflicts, it’s clear Australia must achieve energy independence,” he said.
Victorian Energy and Climate Change Minister Lily D’Ambrosio noted the “historic collaboration” between the three states “will revolutionise Australia’s busiest freight corridor, lighting a pathway to a zero-emissions transport sector”.
The $20 million injection will also fund Australia’s first long-haul hydrogen fuel cell electric freight trucks.