An ambitious plan to build one of the world’s largest renewable hydrogen facilities in Tasmania is a step closer with Fortescue inking a deal for a location in Bell Bay in Northern Tasmania.
The deal has been signed between the subsidiary Fortescue Future Industries and TasPorts and will see the two enter into exclusive negotiations for land at the Port of Bell Bay to be set aside for Fortescue’s proposed 250MW renewable hydrogen facility.
The two parties announced that they had executed an option agreement for the Bell Bay site on Tuesday, enabling the negotiation of land and operating access for the hydrogen project. Bell Bay has long been an industrial hub, being host to an aluminium and manganese alloy smelter, as well as the Tamar Valley power station.
The Andrew Forrest controlled Fortescue Metals Group wants to build the 250MW renewable hydrogen facility at the Bell Bay Industrial Precinct, with a capacity to produce 250,000 tonnes of low emissions ammonia annually. The company says a Deloitte assessment estimated that such a project could add $2 billion to the Tasmanian economy and 500 jobs across its full development cycle.
The project forms part of a larger pivot for Andrew Forrest into the green exports space, with Fortescue aiming to amass as much as 1,000GW of renewable energy capacity around the world to power low emissions manufacturing and the production of export-ready products like hydrogen.
Fortescue Future Industries CEO, Julie Shuttleworth, said that the company expects the Bell Bay project will be one of the world’s largest renewable hydrogen production facilities when completed and would represent a substantial new export opportunity for Tasmania.
“We are excited to be working with local communities and all stakeholders to develop this important opportunity for the future prosperity of Tasmania and a world that needs to decarbonise,” Shuttleworth said.
“[Fortescue Future Industries]’s Tasmania green hydrogen project could be one of the world’s largest green hydrogen plants when commissioned, creating a significant export market for green hydrogen from Australia.”
“The signing of this agreement with TasPorts marks the beginning of a ground-breaking partnership, aiming for the first export of green hydrogen from an Australian port.”
“After investing in research and feasibility studies, we are serious about utilising Tasmania’s comparative advantage in renewable energy generation,” Shuttleworth added.
The project will look to take advantage of Tasmania’s significant supplies of renewable electricity. Last year, the state declared that it was 100 per cent self-sufficient using renewable electricity generation and released a Renewable Hydrogen Action Plan to further expand the amount of renewable energy produced in the state.
The vision, introduced into the Tasmanian parliament in October last year, will aim for Tasmania to effectively reach 200 per cent renewable electricity generation, with extra energy exported to mainland Australia or used in new industries like hydrogen production.
Following the signing of the agreement, TasPorts said the land deal formed part of a wider strategy to support the development of new sustainable infrastructure in Tasmania that will help create new economic opportunities in the state.
“Aligned with TasPorts Port Master Plan and our commitment to facilitate trade for the benefit of Tasmania, the signing of this agreement supports the organisation’s commitment to work with proponents and customers to enable new and emerging industries,” TasPorts chief executive officer Anthony Donald said.
“Securing land is one of the critical ingredients to enable the realisation of green hydrogen developments at Bell Bay and TasPorts is proud to be taking a lead role to support the renewable energy industry.”
Fortescue is aiming to make a final investment decision on the project before the end of the year and will kick start engagement with local community members in July.