Hydrogen investment brings hope to the Latrobe Valley 

Published: 7 Mar 2023


A $2 billion investment by the Japanese Government to commercialise a coal-to-hydrogen project in Victoria is great news for regional jobs, the Mining and Energy Union said today. 

MEU Victorian President Trevor Williams said the project would create hope and opportunity for working families in the Latrobe Valley, where prior and impending coal-fired power station closures were creating deep anxiety for the region’s future.  

“The pilot project has demonstrated that carbon-neutral hydrogen can be economically generated from Latrobe Valley coal and transported to Japan,” he said.

“Expanding and commercialising this project helps the Japanese economy’s energy transition, while also building a viable new industry to support the economic transition of the Latrobe Valley. 

“We expect that contracts to provide coal to the hydrogen plant will provide full-time, well-paid career pathways for Latrobe Valley coal mineworkers and energy workers facing displacement by power station closures. 

“Any industry consistent with a low carbon future delivering such good alternative jobs for power workers and coal miners must be supported by any responsible government.”

Modelling has shown the project will generate more than 1000 jobs a year in the operational phase, with about half in the Latrobe Valley. 

Mr Williams said the hydrogen plant was the first real step towards economic diversification of the Latrobe Valley and could open a pathway for producing other carbon-neutral products from Latrobe Valley coal including urea, ammonia and Adblue, supporting Australia’s self-sufficiency in these products.