Frontier Energy is after solar-powered green hydrogen contractors

Frontier Energy is after solar-powered green hydrogen contractors

September 30, 2022 0 By Erin Kilgore

The company is looking for firms in the development of its proposed Stage One 114 MW Bristol Sprigs plant.

Frontier Energy is on the hunt for a construction and engineering contractor for the development of its Bristol Springs Stage One 114 MW solar plant for its green hydrogen project located in Western Australia.

According to the company, it has managed to shorten its candidates list from five to two for the project.

The solar plant will generate the electricity for a proposed 36.6-megawatt electrolyzer. That, in turn, will produce 4.4 million kilograms of green hydrogen per year. The EPC contract is a central component of the financing process for the project. That process is expected to start in early 2023.

According to Frontier Energy, the construction of the project’s Stage One will come with a price tag of around $166 million. The solar modules are expected to be the largest expense in the project, at a cost of about $42 million.

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The companies that have been shortlisted for the green hydrogen project have not been identified.

Grant Davey, executive chair at Frontier Energy said that the firms that have made it to the short list each have “significant experience” in the development of Australian industrial scale solar farms.

“Despite the high inflationary environment, the costs forecast were highly competitive and in line with the PFS (pre-feasibility study) estimate,” said Davey.

The Frontier Energy Stage One solar farm will be installed on about 195 hectares of land. The majority has already been cleared of vegetation due to having historically been used for agricultural applications. The location will eventually be connected to the Western Power 330kV transmission network by way of the Landwehr Terminal, which is about 4 kilometers away from the solar plant. This removes the need for it to have to install its own network.

The green hydrogen stage’s development will have an ECP tender after a key study has been completed.

That is expected to take place within the next three months, according to a statement from Frontier Energy. Once the project is operational, Frontier Energy expects that it will position itself among the most affordable green hydrogen assets in the country.

Once fully up and running, Frontier believes the Bristol Springs project could be both an earlier mover and one of the lowest cost green hydrogen assets in Australia, thanks to its unique location surrounded by major infrastructure.

This reduces operating and capital costs compared to more remote hydrogen projects, whilst also being surrounded by likely early adopters into the hydrogen industry in the transition from fossil fuels, according to the company.

Frontier has engaged engineering consultants GHD to assist in the final selection of an EPC contractor for Stage One. GHD is also conducting studies for the hydrogen facility. It anticipates its initial hydrogen production will be sold into the domestic market, with its first customers likely to be long-haul transportation pipelines and energy storage.

Frontier weighed the possibilities of both wind and solar energy solutions but found that wind was not competitive and a solar-only option would deliver the best outcome. Battery storage was also deemed uneconomic due to high capital costs.

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