The Western Australian government has received 65 expressions of interest to produce and export renewable hydrogen at an industrial estate north of Geraldton – at least 10 of which were said to have come from global corporate “super majors.”
The strong response follows the Labor McGowan government’s call, issued in September of last year, for EOIs in developing a potentially massive 1.5GW renewable hydrogen hub at the Oakajee Strategic Industrial Area, an industrial estate just north of Geraldton.
The tender was issued by the government as part of its fast-tracking of the W.A. Renewable Hydrogen Strategy, which has been brought forward from 2040 to 2030 and is being backed by $28 million in funding.
The Oakajee SIA is estimated to be able to host up to 1.25GW of wind power, and up to 270MW of large scale solar at globally competitive prices and, in the EOI, the government had said that it was looking for interest from both producers and consumers.
In a statement on Thursday, the government said scores of submissions had come from both Australia and abroad, including Japan, Germany and the US, demonstrating strong international interest in the renewable hydrogen potential of the state’s Mid-West region.
Of the submissions, it said 16 per cent of parties had indicated interest in developing and financing an entire supply chain that encompassed Oakajee as a strategic hub for the production and export of renewable hydrogen.
Other parties had expressed interest in supplying sections of the supply chain – including technology, key water and power utilities, manufacturing key components or financing this emerging industry.
At least 10 of the respondents, the statement added, could be classed as ‘super majors’, each having a global reach and market capitalisations in the $10s or $100s of billions.
“The strong response to the Oakajee EOI process confirmed what we already knew about the strong global appetite for renewable hydrogen, and the enormous potential of the Mid-West region,” said the state’s regional development minister Alanna MacTiernan.
“Global economies are hungry for clean, renewable energy, and we have the perfect mix of wind and solar potential that is the envy of the world right here in WA.”
As RenewEconomy noted at the time the call for EOIs was issued, the Mid-West region of Western Australia is already host to numerous wind and solar farms and has also already attracted some very big renewable hydrogen development proposals.
A consortium led by German industrial giant Siemens has flagged plans for a 5GW renewable hydrogen hub in the region, while BP has talked of a 1.5GW hydrogen hub. Oil and gas explorer Pilot Energy has also been scoping for a renewable hydrogen hub in the area, but largely based on the offshore wind potential of its exploration leases.
On top of this, there is a proposal for a truly massive 15GW wind and solar hydrogen hub further north in the Pilbara, put forward by CWP, Vestas and Macquarie, while some of the big iron ore producers in the Pilbara are also looking at hydrogen, as are energy consumers such as fertiliser and ammonia plants.
The government said the EOIs would be formally considered by the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation working closely with the Mid West Development Commission, Mid West Ports Authority and DevelopmentWA, which owns the Oakajee land.
“We look forward to working with the companies that expressed interest in this opportunity to bring the production of renewable hydrogen to Western Australia,” MacTiernan said.