After AGL Energy and Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) announced last December their shared vision of turning AGL’s two Hunter Valley coal power stations, Liddell and Bayswater, into green hydrogen production centres, the pair have this morning upped the anti, expanding the feasibility study to consider building a hydrogen facility with up to 2 GW of capacity.
The companies are hoping to complete the study by the year’s end.
“The feasibility scope will focus on assessing the accelerated implementation of a large-scale production facility from minimum 150 MW and up to 2 GW of hydrogen and preferred derivatives including ammonia for export and domestic use,” AGL chief operating officer Markus Brokhof said in an update today.
“[The hydrogen hub] will be the first of its kind in Australia and will be an example of how an energy hub can combine grid-scale batteries, solar thermal storage, wind and pumped hydro,” he added.
The hub is set to be built around AGL’s Liddell coal plant, which is to fully retire by April, and Bayswater – less than five kilometres away, though not scheduled for closure until 2035.
The project proposes to use water from Lake Liddell and power from the planned renewable capacity to produce hydrogen for export or to use in the local grid.
To this end, the new partners – all with backgrounds in gas – have been brought in to help with the expanded feasibility study.
The Japanese companies, Inpex Corporation and Osaka Gas, will focus on assessing the feasibility of cost-competitive green hydrogen, while gas pipeline giant APA Group considers transmission and Jemena looks into blending hydrogen into its gas network.
Fortescue Future Industries and its chairman Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest have been extremely vocal about green, renewable hydrogen being the only worthy path for Australia. While today’s announcement mentions nothing about a shift in how the project plans to produce hydrogen, it is no secret that gas companies have a vested interest in pursuing hydrogen – which can be made from gas cheaply today.
FFI has previously announced plans to build the world’s biggest electrolyser manufacturing plant in Queensland as well as a 1 GW solar manufacturing plant.
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