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Parliamentary Questions

Question Without Notice No. 603 asked in the Legislative Council on 11 June 2019 by Hon Robin Scott

Parliament: 40 Session: 1

Answered on 11 June 2019


603. Hon ROBIN SCOTT to the Minister for Regional Development:

(1) On 29 August 2017, at the New Pilbara Economic Development Conference in Perth, in commenting on a proposal to build an undersea cable to Indonesia with a possible extension lead to Vietnam, did the minister say —

� this report highlights the opportunity we have to sell our sunlight to our South-East Asian neighbours.

''Exporting solar energy to Asia has the potential to be a valuable addition to the Pilbara's existing energy mix and would stimulate new economic activity, creating thousands of permanent jobs in the region.

(2) The minister stated on 12 September 2018 in response to my question without notice 779 —

There is also the capability that it may not be a subsea cable; hydrogen may be exported by ship to our Asian markets. This is a very exciting project and I think we should be encouraging the companies that want to get out there and invest in Western Australia to do this.

Can the minister table any document that refutes the CSIRO's 21 March 2016 cost assessment of hydrogen from photovoltaics and hydrolysis, which on page 8 stated that the cost of hydrogen from this source is $18.70 a kilogram?

The PRESIDENT: Member, before I give the minister the call, I remind you about standing order 105, which states that questions shall be concise. I do not think that was a terribly concise question. There was a lot of preamble, and I was not really sure what the question was at the end. I am sure that the minister will have a response.


(1)–(2) I certainly have a response, and I say to the member that he must keep current. The world is moving very quickly. Yes, the member's extensive preamble is correct. I did in fact make that statement on 29 August 2017. The member then asked me if the statement made by the CSIRO in 2016 was correct, and I suppose it is, but I can now table for the member's edification the CSIRO's latest paper, published two years after the one the member quoted. It shows quite clearly that, in those two years alone, the cost of renewable hydrogen has gone down from over $18 a kilogram to $11 a kilogram. No doubt, if another CSIRO report were published today, it would show that it is even better. The member should understand that this is a fast-moving area. Our trading partners—Singapore, Korea and Japan—have made it very clear that they want this product. Of course, we have an obligation to see how we can meet that market demand.

[See paper 2762.]