Completely renewable hydrogen valley headed to NSW, AustraliaMay 19, 2021
A consortium intends to generate green H2 with wind and solar energy to replace coal.
Australia’s first hydrogen valley is in the works, with the intention to create it in New South Whales. This upper Hunter Valley region would use only renewable power in order to replace its current coal industry.
The plan for the region was submitted under a $2 billion proposal supported by energy companies.
Local and global energy companies are supporting this hydrogen valley proposal. The consortium submitting the proposal was led by Energy Estate, the renewable power advisory company. It intends to produce green H2 using wind and solar energy. This hydrogen will then be used for transport, mining and industrial feedstock in the upper Hunter Valley. The intention is to accelerate its transition as a potential replacement for the coal industry in that region.
If the proposal is accepted and its first stage proves successful, its second stage would pipe the green H2 made in the Hunter Valley over to Newcastle. There, it would be used to power a clean energy industrial precinct. Energy Estate Principal Vincent Dwyer explained that the H2 would provide zero-emissions feedstock for chemical manufacturing. Moreover, it would also make it possible to develop green ammonia which could be exported.
The ultimate goal of the hydrogen valley project is to develop the necessary base H2 infrastructure.
Companies taking part in the Hunter hydrogen network consortium include AGL Energy, the APA Group pipeline operator, the Idemitsu Japanese firm that owns a coalmine in Muswellbrook, Trafigura the commodities trader, and RES Australia and Walcha Energy, which are both renewable energy developers.
“We’re not wanting to own all of these opportunities,” said Dwyer. “We’re wanting to enable them to occur by building the backbone infrastructure and then partner with people.” The announcement of the proposal arrived closely on the heels of the Morrison government’s commitment of a $275 million budget in support of “clean” forms of H2. These supported forms include green hydrogen, produced using renewable energy, as well blue H2 made with natural gas or other types of fossil fuels but that use carbon capture and storage.
According to Dwyer, Estate Energy had not yet discussed its hydrogen valley plans with the government. He explained that they were not seeking public backing “for the cost of electrons,” but that they were hoping to discuss “how to plan the infrastructure to allow the hydrogen to occur.”