ASX hydrogen shares surge on 2023 federal budget $2b cash splash

The 2023 federal budget includes a whopping spend on renewable hydrogen.

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Key points

  • ASX hydrogen stocks are outperforming on Wednesday, gaining at much as 11% at the time of writing
  • It follows the revelation of the federal government's new Hydrogen Headstart program
  • The $2 billion program puts the nation on track to realise up to a gigawatt of electrolyser capacity by 2030  

Key ASX hydrogen shares are taking off today following the delivery of the 2023 federal budget last night. And for good reason.

The budget saw $2 billion set aside to accelerate Australia's renewable hydrogen industry.

That's good news for Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX: FMG). The company's hydrogen venture Fortescue Future Industries is aiming to be a leader in the space.

The Fortescue share price is up 0.5% right now, trading at $20.68.

Meanwhile, shares in fellow hydrogen-focused stocks Pure Hydrogen Corporation Ltd (ASX: PH2) and Hazer Group Ltd (ASX: HZR) are putting the iron ore giant's gains to shame.

Stock in Pure Hydrogen is surging 11.4% to trade at 19.5 cents at the time of writing while those in Hazer are leaping 6.9% to reach 69.5 cents.

For comparison, the benchmark All Ordinaries Index (ASX: XAO) is slipping 0.1%.

Let's take a closer look at the government spending that's seemingly putting wind under the renewable energy-focused ASX shares on Wednesday.

Labor reveals $2b Hydrogen Headstart program

It's an exciting day for those invested in ASX hydrogen shares. The federal government revealed its $2 billion Hydrogen Headstart program alongside its 2023 budget last night.

In last night's speech to parliament, treasurer Jim Chalmers said:

Hydrogen power means Wollongong, Gladstone and Whyalla, can make and export everything from renewable energy to green steel. Seizing these kinds of industrial and economic opportunities will be the biggest driver and determinant of our future prosperity.

The Hydrogen Headstart program makes up half of the $4 billion new renewable energy spend announced as part of this year's budget.

It aims to scale up the development of Australia's hydrogen industry by providing revenue support for large-scale renewable hydrogen projects through competitive production contracts.

A joint release from Chalmers, minister for climate change and energy Chris Bowen, and assistant minister for climate change and energy Jenny McAllister reads:

These [contracts] will help bridge the commercial gap for early projects and put Australia on course for up to a gigawatt of electrolyser capacity by 2030 through two to three flagship projects.

They said Australia's path to net zero is dependent on the renewable energy source, which can be combusted for industrial heat, used as a chemical input for green manufacturing and as a fuel for heavy transport, or exported.

Fortescue has welcomed the move, saying it "demonstrates how seriously the government is taking the green hydrogen industry and its critical role in Australia's future".

How have ASX hydrogen shares been performing in 2023

Apparent budget-related gains aside, ASX hydrogen shares have been putting out a mixed performance so far this year.

Leading the pack is the Hazer share price, which has gained 25% since the start of 2023.

Meanwhile, that of Pure Hydrogen has lifted 3% and Fortescue stock is up 1% year to date.

Comparatively, the All Ordinaries Index has increased 4% since the new year began.

Motley Fool contributor Brooke Cooper has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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