TAIWAN plans to follow Japan in importing Australian hydrogen as it boosts its energy resilience in the face of growing threats from China.
Taiwan Deputy Foreign Minister Chung-Kwang Tien told a delegation of foreign journalists in Taipei last week that Australia had the potential to be an energy hub for the region and to play a part in the island nation’s shift to renewable energy.
“Taiwan is a high-tech export hub, but Australia has the potential to become an energy hub of the future using hydrogen produced by solar power and other sources,” Mr Tien said.
Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu told the same group of journalists that China was increasingly active in the South Pacific, requiring a united response from Australia and other democracies.
Australia is already Taiwan’s largest supplier of LNG, making up 32 per cent of long-term contracts.
A Taiwan government spokesman said officials had attended briefings with the federal and Queensland governments last year about exporting hydrogen for use in its industry.
Mining magnate Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest is building a giant green hydrogen manufacturing facility in Gladstone that aims to produce 15 million tonnes of hydrogen by 2030.
Mr Tien said Japan had provided the model on how Australian hydrogen could be exported for use in industry and transport.
Hydrogen shipments from Australia to Japan could eventually rival the post-war boom in coal trade between the two countries, Japanese ambassador Shingo Yamagami said last year.
Mr Yamagami said Australia was set to become a major source of hydrogen for Japan as it moved to a carbon-neutral economy by 2050.
The 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster also made Japan more reliant on imports of fossil fuels, such as oil, gas and coal. Taiwan plans to shut its nuclear plants by 2025. The writer visited Taiwan courtesy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Republic of China (Taiwan).