Siemens backs 5 GW solar and wind plans to produce green hydrogen

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A massive clean energy project that aims to produce green hydrogen for local industry and export to Asia from up to 5,000 MW of combined wind and solar capacity has been unveiled for Western Australia. In a significant early stage milestone, project proponents Hydrogen Renewables Australia (HRA) has joined forces with Siemens to deploy the latter’s Silyzer electrolyzer at the Murchison project.

Situated just north of the coastal town of Kalbarri in WA’s mid-west region, the location has been identified in an U.S. engineering multinational AECOM study as one of Australia’s best for its combination of wind and solar potential.

“We believe that Murchison Renewable Hydrogen Project’s location is the best in Australia for combined solar and wind, making it one of the most cost-effective spots to produce clean energy,” said Terry Kallis, Executive Chairman of Hydrogen Renewables Australia. “We also believe that the project will contribute significantly to the national, state and local objectives for new investment, new jobs, renewable energy sources and new export markets.”

The Murchison Renewable Hydrogen Project is set to be developed in stages, including: a demonstration phase providing hydrogen for transport fuels, an expansion to blend with natural gas in the nearby Dampier-to-Bunbury pipeline and a large expansion to produce hydrogen for Asian markets, notably Japan and Korea.

Another significant development for the project came with the local Nanda Aboriginal Corporation’s formal support for the Section 91 Licence needed to allow the solar and wind monitoring process to proceed. The developer and the aboriginal corporation have started working on an indigenous land use agreement that is expected to be finalized next year..

The Murchison project is the second massive green hydrogen production facility proposed for Western Australia, following the 15 GW Asian Renewable Energy Hub (AREH) plan put forward by a consortium comprising Vestas, Intercontinental Energy, CWP Energy Asia and Macquarie Group. The project is intended to export power to Southeast Asia via subsea cables and supply big miners and green hydrogen projects in the Pilbara region, in northwest WA .

Siemens welcomed the focus on hydrogen in Australia and noted Europe as well as Asia is eyeing the nation as a potential hydrogen giant. “Australia has potential like no other country in the world for hydrogen production and export — as long as we act upon the opportunity quickly,” said Jeff Connolly, CEO Siemens Australia Pacific. “It’s heartening to see strong recent bipartisan leadership at both federal and state levels for hydrogen.”

This year, the WA Government launched a strategy to set course for the state’s renewable hydrogen future with a focus on four strategic investment areas: export, use of renewable hydrogen in remote applications, blending in the gas network and use in transport. To support projects on ground, the authority last month opened a $10 million Renewable Hydrogen Fund and made cash available to feasibility studies, demonstration or capital works projects, to facilitate private investment.

The proposed 5 GW green hydrogen production facility has received a favourable initial response.HRA has undertaken preliminary discussions with key representatives of the Western Australian and Commonwealth Governments, the local Northampton Shire Council, the local Nanda Aboriginal Corporation and several other key local stakeholders.