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What is renewable hydrogen?
Renewable hydrogen is a zero-emission gas produced using renewable energy sources, with a range of applications in transport, agriculture, manufacturing and energy. A standard method of producing renewable hydrogen is electrolysis. Electrolysis uses electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen molecules with electricity. When renewable energy is used for electrolysis, the hydrogen produced is known as renewable hydrogen. Other ways to produce renewable hydrogen include using biomethane and bioenergy from green waste.
Hydrogen gas can be stored and used for electricity generation, to power fuel cell vehicles, further processed into fuels and fertilisers or blended with natural gas and distributed via pipeline. Producing, storing and distributing hydrogen gas often requires planning approval.
For more information on renewable hydrogen in Victoria, visit Renewable hydrogen
The Planning and Environment Act 1987 regulates the use and development of land through planning schemes and the planning permit application process, with each council having its own planning scheme. A hydrogen project will have specific planning requirements based on its location and the proposed land use(s) or development.
A hydrogen proposal may include one or more land uses and buildings or infrastructure to produce, store and distribute hydrogen. Clause 73.03 of the Victoria Planning Provisions and planning schemes set out land use terms for the activities forming part of a hydrogen proposal.
Where a proposal includes more than one land use, one may be considered ancillary or as operating in conjunction with the other. This is usually identified at the pre-application stage through advice from the responsible authority.
The table below provides an overview of relevant potential land use terms for hydrogen proposals.
|Purpose||Land use terms|
|Hydrogen production||The production of hydrogen gas. For example, through the process of electrolysis.||Industry|
|Storage||The storage of hydrogen as a gas or a liquefied gas. In most cases, storage will be ancillary to production or other activities.|
|Refuelling||The distribution of hydrogen as a fuel source for hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles.|
Freeway service centre
|Transmission via pipeline||The transmission of hydrogen gas via pipeline.||Utility installation|
|Energy generation||The use of hydrogen for energy generation. This includes energy generation from hydrogen combustion and fuel cells.||Energy generation facility|
The responsible authority for a hydrogen project may be the local council or the Minister for Planning. Some projects may require multiple permit applications to more than one responsible authority.
Clause 72.01 of the planning scheme specifies land use and development applications for which the Minister for Planning is the responsible authority.
The Minister for Planning is the responsible authority if the proposed use and development of land is for industry to manufacture hydrogen gas with a minimum production capacity of 410 kilograms of hydrogen per day and any land use or development in conjunction with this use.
If a proposed use and development does not include industry to manufacture hydrogen gas above the specified production threshold, the responsible authority is the local council.
The Minister for Planning is also the responsible authority for:
- Energy generation facility with an installed capacity of 1 megawatt or greater
- Utility installation used to store electricity if the installed capacity is 1 megawatt or greater
- Utility installation used to transmit or distribute electricity.
Pre application meetings
A pre-application meeting with the responsible authority will help clarify the planning requirements and process before lodging an application.
For applications where the Minister for Planning is the responsible authority, download and complete the request form below then upload with other supporting documentation when requesting a pre-application meeting online.
Where a local council is the responsible authority, the council may be able to provide for a pre-application meeting.
Applying for a planning permit
Planning permit applications for hydrogen projects can be lodged online.
Planning permit applications for renewable energy projects can be lodged online.
Other statutory approvals
In addition to planning requirements for a hydrogen facility, there may be other regulatory requirements at local, state and national levels.
In Victoria, these may include approvals and requirements under:
Dangerous Goods (Storage and Handling) Regulations 2022
Dangerous Goods Act 1985
Environment Effects Act 1978
Environment Protection Act 2017
Gas Industry Act 2001
Gas Safety Act 1997
Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004
Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017
Pipelines Act 2005
Key agencies that can provide more information about regulations and licences for hydrogen proposals are:
Page last updated: 14/11/23