International interest in WA renewable hydrogen potential

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Yara Pilbara Fertilizers ammonia plant

The McGowan Government has received 65 expressions of interest to develop the greenfields Oakajee Strategic Industrial Area into a globally competitive renewable hydrogen precinct.

In September 2020, the McGowan Government issued a global call for EOIs to unlock the Oakajee SIA’s potential for renewable hydrogen production and export.

EOIs were submitted from Australia, Japan, Korea, India, Germany, Spain, the UK, France and the United States, demonstrating strong international interest in the renewable hydrogen potential of the Mid-West region.

Of the submissions, 16 per cent of parties indicated interest in developing and financing an entire supply chain that encompasses Oakajee as a strategic hub for the production and export of renewable hydrogen.

Other parties expressed interest in supplying sections of the supply chain including technology, key water and power utilities, manufacturing key components or financing this emerging industry.

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At least 10 of the respondents could be classed as ‘super majors’, each having a global reach and market capitalisations in the $10s or $100s of billions.

EOIs will be formally considered by the State Government via 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.

The EOI follows the Western Australian Renewable Hydrogen Strategy goals being brought forward from 2040 to 2030, with the McGowan Government investing $28 million in the development of the renewable hydrogen sector in the State.

Located 23 kilometres north of Geraldton, Oakajee SIA is recognised for its world-class wind and solar energy potential, which is ideal for the production of renewable hydrogen for domestic and commercial use, advanced manufacturing and export.

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Initial assessments show Oakajee SIA could provide up to 270 megawatts of wind generation and 1,250 megawatts of solar renewable energy. Supported by gas firming, the estimated cost of generating electricity from the area will be competitive at below $0.10 per kilowatt-hour.

Oakajee SIA is connected to the State’s major road network and existing Geraldton Port via the North West Coastal Highway, and provisions are in place for the area to be linked into WA’s gas network.

Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan said, “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.

“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.

“We look forward to working with the companies that expressed interest in this opportunity to bring the production of renewable hydrogen to Western Australia.”