Super fund to tip $100 million into green hydrogen projects


ASX-listed ReNu Energy and its wholly owned subsidiary Countrywide Hydrogen have inked a term sheet with Australian super fund HESTA for the potential investment of up to $100 million in a portfolio of green hydrogen projects being developed in Tasmania and Victoria.

Countrywide, which was acquired by ReNu in February, has two projects under development in Tasmania and another two in Victoria. The Victorian projects include 10 MW electrolyser facilities at Melbourne and Portland while the Tasmanian projects include a 10 MW electrolyser plant in Bell Bay and a 5 MW facility at Brighton near Hobart.

Countrywide has also signed an agreement to work with large-scale solar PV and battery energy storage specialist Wirsol Energy to investigate solar-to-hydrogen co-development opportunities in Tasmania.

ReNu chief executive officer Greg Watson said the company’s vision is to be a major green hydrogen supplier domestically, with a primary focus on supplying hydrogen to the mobility and natural gas sectors, and then to use its Australian learnings to expand to export and offshore projects.

“We are excited to have HESTA on board as an institutional investor in our green hydrogen projects,” he said. “Our task now is to advance to definitive agreements as soon as possible and progress commercial discussions with our project partners for green hydrogen offtake.”

The executed term sheet is a non-binding framework that is intended to be converted into definitive arrangements, subject to HESTA completing its due diligence. It sets out the parties’ intention to jointly pursue green hydrogen projects and to advance to definitive agreements.

Countrywide is looking to pair solar PV with its green hydrogen manufacturing plants.

Image: Beon Energy Solutions

Under the conditions of the new term sheet, HESTA, which manages more than $68 billion in assets invested around the world, will commit up to $100 million for the development of green hydrogen projects.

ReNu and its subsidiary Countrywide Hydrogen will be responsible for delivering and operating the projects. ReNu will also be responsible for securing debt and grant funding while HESTA will be granted first right of refusal to invest in existing and new projects.

Countrywide managing director and ReNu Energy executive director Geoffrey Drucker said HESTA’s investment illustrates that the momentum for the transition to clean energy and the decarbonisation of economies and industry is growing.

“HESTA’s support will enable the group to progress its hydrogen projects from concept to production and meet its objective to be the first-mover in domestic green hydrogen production to the identified markets of road transport, decarbonising natural gas networks, and up to 100% green hydrogen use in industrial applications,” he said.

HESTA chief investment officer Sonya Sawtell-Rickson added that the agreement is part of the super fund’s strategic commitment to invest in projects that not only deliver attractive risk-adjusted returns to its members but also support the transition to net zero emissions.

“We continue to look for opportunities like this to invest in innovative technologies and businesses that will support the transition to a low-carbon future,” she said. “By providing innovative climate solutions, this investment will also serve our members’ best financial interests over the long term.”

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