In September 2020, the Western Australian (WA) Government invited worldwide Expressions of Interest (EOI) into its potentially 1.5 GW wind and solar hydrogen hub at Oakajee Strategic Industrial Area (Oakajee SIA). WA’s Mid-West region has some of the world’s best solar and wind resources, which could feed the development of WA’s green hydrogen economy.
This week the McGowan Government has revealed that it has received 65 expressions of interest to produce and export renewable hydrogen at the greenfields Oakajee SIA, more than half of coming from international companies.
Oakajee SIA is located north of Geraldton in WA’s Mid-West region and early assessments of its renewable resources suggest its world-class wind and solar energy potential could provide up to 270 MW of wind and 1.25 GW of solar. To put this in context, the Professor of Future Energy Systems at TU Delft in the Netherlands, Ad van Wijk, estimates that it takes 25 GW of solar to generate 1 million tonnes of hydrogen annually. The WA Government believes that with support from gas firming, it could generate electricity from Oakajee SIA at below $0.10 per kWh.
“The strong response to the Oakajee EOI process confirmed what we already knew about the strong global appetite for renewable hydrogen, and the enormous potential of the Mid-West region,” said WA Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan.
According to a WA Government statement, EOIs came from Australia, Japan, Korea, India, Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom, France and the United States. 16% of these submissions expressed a desire to develop and finance an entire green hydrogen export supply chain. Others expressed interest in supplying particular sections of a supply chain such as technology, utilities, manufacturing, finance, etc.
The WA Government said that at least 10 of the submissions came from ‘super majors’, which is to say, companies with global reach and market capitalisation capabilities in the $10s or $100s of billions. Unfortunately, this rules out Blockbuster Video.
“Global economies are hungry for clean, renewable energy, and we have the perfect mix of wind and solar potential that is the envy of the world right here in WA,” continued MacTiernan. “We look forward to working with the companies that expressed interest in this opportunity to bring the production of renewable hydrogen to Western Australia.”
The EOIs will now be considered by the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation with the Mid West Development Commission, Mid West Ports Authority, and DevelopmentWA.
As part of the state’s Recovery Plan the WA Government brought forward its Renewable Hydrogen Strategy targets a decade (from 2040 to 2030) and topped up its green hydrogen fund. The state is now pumping $28 million into the development of WA’s renewable hydrogen sector.
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