Fortescue Future Industries and AGL Energy aim to repurpose coal-fired power plant sites to generate green hydrogen

Fortescue
Future Industries (FFI) and AGL Energy (AGL) have agreed to undertake a
feasibility study to repurpose infrastructure at the Hunter Valley’s Liddell
and Bayswater coal-fired power stations to generate green hydrogen from water,
using renewable energy.

Today’s
announcement reinforces Australia’s potential to become a global green hydrogen
superpower, in the process creating thousands of local direct and indirect jobs
and strengthening economies in regional Australia.

The
Liddell and Bayswater power stations currently account for over 40 per cent of
New South Wales’ carbon dioxide emissions, according to 2019 National
Greenhouse and Energy Reporting data.

Successful
repurposing of these sites will supercharge NSW to meet its target of halving
its emissions by 2030, and prove the role of green hydrogen in decarbonising
and demethaning energy and industry here in Australia.

The Hunter
Valley Industrial Clean Energy Hub is expected to support thousands of jobs
once complete, in addition to creating a new regional domestic and export
industry in green hydrogen.

FFI
Founder and Chair, Dr Andrew Forrest AO, said, “FFI’s goal is to turn regional
Australia into the global green energy heartland and create thousands of jobs
now and so many more in the future.

“Repurposing
existing fossil fuel infrastructure with forward looking companies like AGL to
create green hydrogen to help power the world, is the solution we have been
looking for.

“I wish to
thank my forward-looking friend AGL Managing Director and CEO, Graeme Hunt, who
was the first iron ore industry leader to declare my then embryonic iron ore
company, Fortescue Metals Group, as a very real future player in the highly
competitive iron ore industry – thank you Graeme for exercising the same vision
today.

“Green
hydrogen is the only true zero-carbon, zero-methane fuel – every other type of
hydrogen requires the burning of fossil fuels.

“It is a
practical, implementable solution that can collapse emissions and create strong
economies worldwide if leaders like Graeme are fully supported by global
investors and local government alike.

“This is
another important step in turning the corner once and for all, to implement the
technologies carbon emitters, like us, to reach net zero,” Dr Forrest said.

Pending
the feasibility study’s outcomes, initial renewable electricity production
through new wind and solar could be 250MW, generating 30,000 tonnes of green
hydrogen per year or enough for a hydrogen fuelled truck to drive to the moon
and back five times.

Ultimately,
due to the scalability of electrolysers, estimates suggest production will be
in the gigawatts. Power for the electrolyser will come from new wind, solar,
and supported by new pumped hydro and batteries, generated by FFI, AGL and
other parties.

The
feasibility study forms part of the non-binding Memorandum of Understanding
between FFI and AGL will also assess whether green hydrogen can be used to fuel
co-located industries, in addition to export options.

Mr Hunt
said, “It’s clear that green hydrogen has a critical role to play in our future
energy mix and we are excited to explore this proposed development which will
showcase AGL’s generation expertise alongside FFI’s leading development of
green hydrogen in Australia.

“Fortescue
Future Industries is leading the charge with the development of green hydrogen
in Australia and abroad and I am looking forward to working with Dr Andrew
Forrest and his brilliant team. I have seen first-hand what extraordinary
results organisations led by Dr Forrest can achieve on the back of the
enthusiasm he brings to achieve a bold future vision.

“As early
investors in wind and other renewables, we want to continue our long history of
support for the development of new technologies, including Australia’s emerging
hydrogen industry. The proposed development plays a significant role in AGL’s
plans for an integrated industrial ‘Hunter Energy Hub’ which would be powered
by clean energy, delivered through grid-scale batteries, solar thermal storage,
wind, pumped hydro and the co-location of industry,” Mr Hunt said.

FFI Chief
Executive Officer Julie Shuttleworth AM said, “FFI’s collaboration with AGL is
an exciting opportunity to explore how to harness existing infrastructure in
the Hunter Valley region, fast tracking the production and use of green
hydrogen.

“Over the
next 12 months we will undertake a feasibility study which will identify key
operational and commercial projections for the project and enable the
development of a production timeline,” Ms Shuttleworth said.

Today’s
announcement aligns with the New South Wales Government’s strategy to develop
an innovative and competitive green hydrogen industry that delivers reliable
domestic supply of green hydrogen and new export opportunities.

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