Joint media release with WA Minister for Energy Bill Johnston
Australia’s first remote microgrid using renewable hydrogen generation is becoming a reality as the Morrison and McGowan governments support the trial of new energy technologies in remote Western Australia.
The project will be a first-of-its-kind demonstration that will utilise solar and renewable hydrogen generation and storage to provide 526 MWh per annum of dispatchable renewable electricity, enough to power 100 residential homes.
Horizon Power, owned by the WA Government, will build the hybrid solar and hydrogen power system. Denham was chosen by Horizon Power due to the close proximity to quality wind and solar resources, availability of land, access to water and the need to find a solution to replace the current ageing diesel power station.
Remote area power systems or microgrids are increasingly becoming cost-effective solutions to deliver reliable, low cost, low-emissions energy supply to our regional communities and industries in off-grid and fringe-of-grid locations.
The Horizon Power project is important as it will test the technical capability of using hydrogen as a power source in remote microgrids and help this technology to become commercially viable.
Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said the Government is supporting projects in WA that will deliver a more reliable, affordable energy system for Western Australians and create new jobs.
“This landmark Denham hydrogen project will see regional Western Australia at the cutting edge of hydrogen application. The outcomes of this project will not only help to advance hydrogen developments across Australia, but will help keep the lights on for a remote community,” Minister Taylor said.
“Prioritising hydrogen under the Technology Investment Roadmap and backing projects like this will teach us more about how hydrogen can form part of Australia’s energy mix to drive down prices and reduce emissions.
“Importantly, this funding will provide reliable and affordable energy solutions to remote and indigenous communities, supporting economic development, local jobs and reducing disadvantage for households.”
WA Energy Minister Bill Johnston said the McGowan Government is leading the nation in the trialling of new renewable technologies.
“The Denham project will keep Horizon Power at the leading edge of new technologies as we work towards the McGowan Government’s ambition to achieve net zero emissions by 2050,” Minister Johnston said.
“The plant will extend Australia’s knowledge of hydrogen operating systems, and test the possibility of implementing microgrids and hydrogen technology into other regional power systems across the State.”
The Commonwealth will provide $2.6 million towards the project, through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA). The Western Australian Government has previously announced a $5.7 million contribution, as part of the WA Recovery Plan.
Construction of the plant will start in August 2021, with commissioning to commence in December.
Horizon will work closely with local and surrounding regional businesses and the community to identify supplier opportunities.
If successful, the project could be replicated throughout Horizon’s portfolio in Western Australia, and in other remote area power systems across Australia, such as within the Queensland and Northern Territory networks.