Western Australia explores green hydrogen hub with up to 1,250MW of solar energy

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Image: ARENA.

Western Australia is looking for global partners to explore the development of renewable hydrogen projects as part of a hub that could host up to 1,250MW of solar energy and 270MW of wind power.

The state government has released a global expressions of interest (EOI) call for proponents to develop green hydrogen projects at the Oakajee Strategic Industrial Area (SIA), 435km north of Perth. 

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The EOI is targeted at hydrogen producers; hydrogen users, such as transport, metals refining and ammonia manufacturing companies; hydrogen industry component manufacturers; and power and other infrastructure providers. 

According to the state government, the 4,070-hectare Oakajee SIA area is ideal for the production of renewable hydrogen for commercial uses, including advanced manufacturing, energy storage and transport, and for the future export of clean energy.

With interest in renewable hydrogen accelerating, the technology has the potential to be a “major economic driver for the state”, Alannah MacTiernan, Western Australia regional development minister, said. “The state government is keen to work collaboratively with industry through the EOI process and understand exactly what it will take to transform the area into a globally competitive producer and user of renewable hydrogen.”

The EOI process follows a AU$22 million (US$16.03 million) investment announced by Western Australia last month to boost the state’s hydrogen industry across four areas: export, use in remotely located industries, blending in natural gas networks and use in fuel cell electric transport vehicles. Part of that funding will be used to build a renewable energy grid that uses a solar power system to produce hydrogen from water. The demonstrator microgrid will test the technology and feasibility of implementing microgrids incorporating hydrogen in regional areas across the state. 

The funding and EOI join a growing list of projects exploring the potential of combining renewables with hydrogen production in Western Australia. BP secured funding earlier in the year to assess the feasibility of a renewable hydrogen and ammonia production facility in the state, while Hydrogen Renewables Australia and Siemens are planning a facility that will be powered by 5GW of solar and wind, and eventually exporting hydrogen to Japan and Korea.

Meanwhile, the possibility of transporting hydrogen from Australia to Germany will be examined through a new feasibility study announced earlier this month between the two countries. The two-year study will also investigate the demand for green hydrogen by German industry.

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