Fortescue lines up for offtake agreement with world’s largest PV project


With ambitions to develop a green hydrogen plant in the Brazilian state of Ceará capable of producing 15 million tonnes of hydrogen by 2030, Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) is said to be investigating a power purchase agreement with Brazilian renewable energy developer Omega Energia which is building a 4.6 GW solar project in the country’s northeast that is set to become the world’s largest PV installation upon completion.

Omega Energia is yet to reveal its investment in the 4.6 GW Kuara solar park project, which will comprise 8 million solar modules from an undisclosed manufacturer. The project will cover 7.8 thousand hectares of unused farmland between the municipalities of Aracati e Icapuí, in Ceará.

While the Kuara solar park project has already attracted potential offtake agreements, the Ceará state government has postponed plans to grant it an environmental licence until next month.

The environmental council of Ceará met last week to discuss the project’s environment licence and decided to postpone its final decision until 1 December 2022. The council noted that a member of the Order of Attorneys of Brazil has asked to visit the project site before casting a vote.

Despite the delay, local media has reported that Omega Energia will sell some of the renewable electricity generated at the site to FFI which plans to develop a renewable hydrogen project which could start large-scale green hydrogen production as early as 2027.

FFI last week signed an updated memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Ceara state government to build an industrial green hydrogen production plant within the Pecem industrial and port complex, about 200 kilometres from the 4.6 GW Kuara solar park project site.

The subsidiary of iron ore producer Fortescue Metals Group said it will invest USD 6 billion to build the facility. The goal is to produce 15 million tonnes of green hydrogen by 2030, the local government said.

Currently, the project is in the feasibility study stage in which engineering, environmental and social impact studies are being carried out. If the ongoing feasibility studies confirm the project’s viability, FFI is targeting a final investment decision by 2024 and the commencement of large-scale hydrogen production in Ceará in 2027.

The world’s two largest PV parks to date are now under construction in China. State-owned China Huadian is building a 3.3. GW solar park in Changdu, Sichuan province. A second 3 GW solar installation is also planned in Zhongwei, in China’s Ningxia Hui region.

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