Queensland government-owned generator CS Energy and natural gas producer Senex have agreed to form a joint venture (JV) to develop the Kogan Renewable Hydrogen Demonstration Plant near Chinchilla in Queensland’s Darling Downs region.
The hydrogen plant will be built next to CS Energy’s coal-fired Kogan Creek Power Station, though its 600-700kW hydrogen electrolyser will be exclusively powered by a co-located 2MW solar PV farm. The project will also include a hydrogen fuel cell of up to 50kW, hydrogen storage and out-loading facility.
A battery energy storage system will also form part of the energy hub being created at Kogan Creek with CS Energy recently announcing it plans to build a 100MW/200MWh battery at the site.
The solar-powered hydrogen facility, which is set to produce 50 tonnes of green hydrogen annually, is expected to be operating before the end of 2023. CS Energy has already signed an offtake agreement with Japan’s Sojitz Corporation for the green hydrogen produced at the plant.
IHI Engineering Australia, a subsidiary of IHI Corporation Japan, has been appointed to construct the Kogan Creek plant, with work due to start on site in September this year.
Queensland Energy Minister Mick de de Brenni said the project is an opportunity for CS Energy to stake its territory in the hydrogen sector with the state government providing the publicly owned utility with $28.9 million to help finance the demonstration plant and an associated refueller network.
“Green hydrogen is key to diversifying our energy sector, building on our long-term energy know-how in regional Queensland and attracting significant international investment in job-creating heavy manufacturing,” he said.
“Today’s announcement will contribute to the success of the Kogan demonstration plant and support Queensland’s ambitions to become a hydrogen and renewable energy superpower.”
Under the joint venture agreement, CS Energy will operate and hold 75% equity in the plant, with Senex Energy to hold the remaining 25% equity.
CS Energy chief executive officer Andrew Bills said both companies recognised the enormous potential of green hydrogen to contribute to a low-carbon future in Australia.
“CS Energy is excited to welcome Senex Energy as our partner at this key point in the project as we move to the construction phase later this year,” he said.
“There is a strong strategic alignment between CS Energy and Senex Energy around the opportunities the energy transformation will bring. Senex Energy’s experience in the gas sector will be invaluable during the demonstration and as we evaluate future opportunities to increase renewable hydrogen production to commercial scale.”
Senex Energy CEO Ian Davies said the company’s participation in the project underlined its commitment to the supply of reliable, affordable and sustainable energy.
“To ensure Queensland’s and Australia’s energy security, and reach net zero targets, we need all forms of energy to work together. The natural gas sector is the ideal partner for development of a renewable hydrogen industry and that’s why we’re investing in this project,” he said.
The Kogan Renewable Hydrogen Demonstration Plant is among a host of renewable energy projects being progressed near Chinchilla in Queensland’s Western Down, with the region emerging as a key renewable energy hub in the state.
The region is home to the biggest solar farm proposed in the state so far, with French renewables developer Neoen continuing work on its massive $600 million Western Downs Green Power Hub that will include a 460 MWp solar farm and a 200MW/400MWh big battery.
Singapore-based Vena Energy has also established itself in the region with its 100MW/150MWh Wandoan South big battery project nearing completion while Spanish renewables developer X-Elio expects its 200MW Blue Grass Solar Farm developed just north of Chinchilla to achieve full commercial operations early this year.
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