Fortescue seals future for green hydrogen in Queensland


Fortescue Future Industries’ (FFI) ambitions to transform Queensland into a green hydrogen powerhouse are a step closer to fruition with the company on Friday announcing it has signed a deal with the state government-owned Powerlink to connect the proposed project sites to the grid.

After signing agreements with Powerlink and the state government-owned Economic Development Queensland (EDQ), FFI’s planned multi-gigawatt-scale electrolyser factory in Aldoga, near Gladstone, and proposed green hydrogen production facility at Gibson Island near Brisbane will be connected to the Queensland transmission network and supplied with renewable electricity.

Deputy Premier Steven Miles said on Friday the parties had agreed to work together to build new transmission connections that will power FFI’s Queensland developments.

“FFI are seeking to build a facility at Gibson Island to produce around 50,000 tonnes of renewable hydrogen per year. Connection to the transmission network is vital to allow green energy to power this facility,” he said.

“Queensland’s constantly growing fleet of renewable power stations will provide the energy to produce green hydrogen ready for export to overseas markets like Japan and South Korea.

“By working with Powerlink, FFI will receive a streamlined service across their Queensland connection developments, which could be up and running as soon as 2023.”

FFI has already gained planning approval to build what would be the world’s largest electrolyser, renewable industry and equipment factory at Aldoga.

FFI plans to build its Global Green Energy Manufacturing Centre at Aldoga in the Gladstone State Development Area, adjacent to the Port of Gladstone.

Image: Gladstone Ports Corporation

Stage one of the estimated $1 billion project would establish an electrolyser factory with an initial capacity of 2GW per annum – more than doubling current global production.

The company has also announced plans to partner with fertiliser and chemical manufacturer Incitec Pivot to convert its ammonia-production facility at Gibson Island to run on green hydrogen. Currently, the facility uses natural gas as a feedstock.

FFI also plans to construct an on-site electrolysis plant, which will produce up to 50,000 tonnes of green hydrogen per year for conversion into green ammonia.

FFI founder and chair Andrew Forrest said the transmission agreement will allow the proposed green hydrogen projects to advance.

“We look forward to working with Powerlink to use the grid to deliver green power to our projects, enabling us to move quickly and supporting the entry of more renewables and decarbonisation of the electricity network,” he said.

“FFI’s goal is to turn Queensland into the global green energy heartland and to help create jobs now and into the future.”

The new transmission infrastructure will include a new substation and switchyard.

Image: Powerlink

To support the Gibson Island facility, Powerlink will construct a new 275kV switchyard at its existing Murarrie Substation and two 275kV feeders to Gibson Island.

Works at Aldoga will include establishing a connection to Powerlink’s existing Larcom Creek substation, a 275kV overhead transmission line, and a new substation at the Aldoga facility.

Queensland Energy Minister Mick de Brenni said the new transmission infrastructure will allow the proposed green hydrogen projects to tap into the state’s planned Renewable Energy Zones (REZ).

“By establishing Renewable Energy Zones across the state, the Queensland government will enable a new market for thousands of megawatts of new renewable energy,” he said.

“Powerlink’s transmission network will then deliver this clean energy to places like Gibson Island and Gladstone where it will be converted in to green hydrogen and green ammonia.”

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