Australia’s Northern Territory has struck a deal with French energy major Total Eren to develop a 1GW green hydrogen project in the city of Darwin that will be powered by 2GW of solar PV.
The entities announced yesterday that they had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) focused on the development of the H2 Hub in the Northern Territory’s capital.
Under current plans, H2 Hub will be powered by 2GW of solar PV spread across a 4000ha, the location of which was not disclosed. This will provide the power needed to run a 1GW electrolyser, the type of which was not stated, to produce more than 80,000 tonnes of green hydrogen per year.
It has been framed as a way to boost clean energy jobs in Northern Australia as well as open up new export opportunities to the Indo-Pacific region, building on recent announcements by the country that have sought lucrative power export deals to its neighbours.
“With our abundant solar resources and our strategic location to support exports into the Indo-Pacific, the production of green hydrogen is a key opportunity for the Territory to address the growing demand for this green energy globally,” said Natasha Fyles, chief minister of the Northern Territory.
Australia’s attitude towards renewables and clean energy has undergone a significant shift recently with the country’s May election seeing the Labor government come to power after campaigning heavily on climate change prevention.
At the end of July, the Australian government proposed legislation that will lock-in Australia’s commitment to achieve net zero by 2050 as well as providing greater oversight and accountability over progress on climate change in a sharp departure from the previous administration.
Total Eren’s managing director for Australia, Kam Ho, said the company plans to “accelerate the development of the project to supply green hydrogen and also the opportunity to provide renewable energy which supports the decarbonisation plans for energy-intensive industries in the Territory”.
And Total Eren is not the only energy major to line up green hydrogen projects in Australia. In June, bp announced that it would acquire a 40.5% stake in, and become operator of, a green hydrogen project in Western Australia that could feature up to 26GW of solar and wind when complete.
The ramp up of green hydrogen production is seen as critical to the decarbonisation of certain heavy industries and therefore the wider energy transition. In June, risk management provider DNV released a report that argued global hydrogen uptake is far below what is required under the Paris Agreement and underinvestment in the technology is a missed opportunity to decarbonise hard to abate sectors of the global economy.
As part of our last edition of PV Tech Power (vol.31), PV Tech spoke with analysts and manufacturers to examine how electrolysis technologies work, what differentiates them from each other, what they are best suited for and which one is best placed to dominate the green hydrogen market in the future. You can access the article here.