A newly formed Australian renewable energy company called Austrom Hydrogen has unveiled ambitious plans for what it says could be a massive 3.6 gigawatt solar hydrogen project near the Port of Gladstone in central Queensland, adding to the rapidly growing list of multi-gigawatt scale renewable hydrogen proposals in Australia.
Austrom’s plans are in their very early stages, with the company announcing on Tuesday that it has secured land in Callide with enough capacity to establish a 3,600MW solar powered hydrogen facility, a project called Pacific Solar Hydrogen. It says it is now in talks with “key industry stake holders to streamline the development process”, and is looking for domestic and international partners.
“With close proximity to the existing power grid and the Port of Gladstone, it is ideally positioned to become Queensland’s new renewable power centre,” the company said in a statement.
“It was a key strategic decision to place priority on securing enough suitable land to be able to generate enough in-house solar power and battery support to supply all the energy necessary for the large-scale Hydrogen facility.”
Securing land is one matter, landing finance and equity and contracts is quite another.
This is the latest in a number of projects to propose multi-gigawatt installations of wind and or solar capacity with a view to the export market, via either hydrogen or sub-sea cable, or to boost local manufacturing which could in turn export “green metals” using cheap renewable energy.
Most are backed by substantial and well known companies. The most prominent of these is the 15GW Asian Renewable Energy Hub backed by Vestas, CWP and Macquarie Group, and the 10GW Sun Cable project backed by billionaires Mike Cannon-Brookes and Andrew Forrest.
The Austrom idea, however, could also run headlong into competition with the 2GW wind, solar and storage project proposed by Energy Estate for the same area around Gladstone.
Austrom Hydrogen describes itself as an Australian-owned business set up between “environmental and industry professionals with extensive experience in the renewables industry in Australia and Europe.”
The only named member is director Tonny Jorgensen, from the Sunshine Coast, who has a history in the pharmaceutical and dietary supplements industry, according to his LinkedIn profile. Jorgensen said his partner in the project, Ronan Darcy, worked on the Lincoln Gap wind farm in South Australia.
“The technology for generating hydrogen more efficiently is evolving rapidly as is the demand for commercially produced quantities of green powered Hydrogen production,” Jorgensen said in an emailed statement.
“Along with contributing significantly to Australia’s export market and economy, this project will provide thousands of jobs, boosting regional economies and help foreign industry partners achieve their green hydrogen targets.”
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