The South Australia (SA) government has named a consortium comprising the Australian arm of Canada’s ATCO and Britain-based industrial gas and engineering group BOC as preferred partners to build a 250 MW hydrogen production facility, 200 MW hydrogen power plant and a hydrogen storage facility at Whyalla in the Upper Spencer Gulf.
The state government said the ATCO Australia and BOC consortium has committed to an early contractor involvement (ECI) agreement which will see the proponent undertake detailed project and engineering design, procurement of critical equipment, finalise contracting arrangements, and cost estimations.
The state has also entered into an ECI agreement with Adelaide-headquartered energy infrastructure company Epic Energy to develop a hydrogen storage solution and transmission pipeline for the project, providing connections for production expansion and industrial offtake.
SA Premier Peter Malinauskas said the Whyalla project would help unlock pipelines of renewable energy developments and business opportunities while the clean hydrogen could be used to firm up the state’s electricity grid and.
“This is a world-leading opportunity for South Australia, that has the potential to rival Victoria’s gold rush, the coal boom in Queensland, or Western Australia’s development of iron ore and gas,” he said.
“We have all the things the world will need to decarbonise – abundant copper and magnetite, the world’s best coincident wind and solar resources, world-leading renewable energy penetration and soon, the ability to harness this abundant clean energy in the form of hydrogen.”
The state government said the ATCO and BOC consortium was chosen to deliver the hydrogen plant – set to commence operation in early 2026 – from 29 proposals received from companies worldwide.
“The ATCO and BOC consortium stood out as the preferred proponent, with an end-to-end solution encompassing design and build experience in electrolysers, generators, on-site storage as well as operational expertise,” it said.
ATCO Australia Chief Executive Officer John Ivulich said the Whyalla plant, which will be the first in the world to deploy 100% hydrogen-operated fast-startup turbines, will be the largest of its type in the world.
“This project will be transformational for the community, customers and the country,” he said.
The Whyalla plant is the centrepiece of the Port Bonython Hydrogen Hub being developed in the Upper Spencer Gulf. The hub is expected to become a major green hydrogen export hub.
The SA and federal governments last month announced a $100 million commitment to develop common-user infrastructure at Port Bonython, about 16 kilometres from Whyalla, such as upgrades to the deep-sea terminal, pipelines, storage facilities and access roads as it looks to transform the site into a multi-user export-focused precinct for green hydrogen.
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