The development of green hydrogen projects in Australia is gathering pace, with another renewable energy project developer kick-starting the planning process for what will be one of Queensland’s first commercial-scale production facilities.
Edify Energy – one of Australia’s most successful renewable energy developers – has lodged planning applications for a 10MW hydrogen facility at a :sustainable” industrial district that is being established just outside of Townsville.
The green hydrogen project is planned for the Lansdown Eco-Industrial Precinct, being developed by the Townsville City Council, which is set to be established near Edify’s 200MW Majors Creek Solar Farm.
The Lansdown Eco-Industrial Precinct is hoping to attract a number of sustainable ventures to the Townsville area, with nearby access to energy and exports infrastructure, as well as a dedicated supply of water via the Haughton Pipeline.
Edify had previously secured access to 41 hectares of land at the industrial precinct for the construction of the hydrogen production facility. A further 9.7 hectares has been set aside for the construction of a sub-station, allowing the electrolyser facility to be connected with the wider grid.
The hydrogen project itself is expected to be paired with its own 10MW behind-the-meter solar project, which may also be combined with a battery storage project.
Construction of the project is expected to create up to 100 jobs during the construction phase and a further six ongoing jobs during operation. The supply of green hydrogen would be offered to other ventures present at the industrial precinct.
“Edify proposes to transform renewable energy (from the on-site solar facility) into hydrogen (a combustible gas) to produce ‘green hydrogen’, which can then be utilised for potential fuel for transport – trucks, locomotives, buses – for a domestic market, or potentially injected into the existing or new gas networks for domestic or export markets,” the planning application says.
Edify lodged the planning applications on Wednesday last week.
The application for development approvals for the 10MW first stage would be just the first part of a larger ambition for Edify, which has its sights set on growing its production capabilities to as much as 1GW of green hydrogen production.
The company said that it could look to draw upon supplies of power produced at its Majors Creek solar project as the facility grows.
Edify described the 10MW first stage as a ‘pilot hydrogen plant’ that could serve as a template for further developments of larger-scale hydrogen production facilities.
“It is expected expansions of the hydrogen plant will be completed in multiple stages, and approval is sought for expansion of the facility in stages,” the planning application says.
A larger hydrogen production facility at the Lansdown Eco-Industrial Precinct could ultimately serve export markets through a direct linkage with ports and other infrastructure being established in Townsville.
The Townsville City Council recently signed an agreement with Origin Energy to support the development of hydrogen production and export facilities in the region.
Origin Energy has been working with Japanese industrial giant Kawasaki Heavy Industries plans to export hydrogen from Australia to Japan.
“Hydrogen is an energy of the future and our city is uniquely placed to be able to supply hydrogen to both domestic and export markets,” Townsville mayor Jenny Hill said in April.
“We have substantial suitable land and renewable energy capacity, undersubscribed use of the North Queensland Gas Pipeline and renewable energy projects and the deep-water Port of Townsville through which hydrogen can be exported.”
Edify’s 10MW first stage for hydrogen production would still position the project as one of the largest renewably powered green hydrogen projects being developed in Australia.
News that it has sought development approval comes just a day after the Australian Renewable Energy Agency announced that it had selected three projects, each developing 10MW of hydrogen production capacity, that will share in $103 million in government grants.
The three projects selected for support from ARENA will be used to provide zero emissions hydrogen either for fertiliser production or for blending in mains gas supplies.
The final design of Edify’s facility will follow a process of consultation and engagement with the local council.
Edify already operates a portfolio of around 800MW of renewable energy and energy storage projects, including the 60MW Gannawarra solar farm and 25MW/50MWh big battery and the massive 333MW Darlington Point solar farm in New South Wales.