World-first partnership to deliver huge clean energy project

Aerial view of Kununurra town and Lake Argyle in Western Australia
Kununurra, Western Australia (Image: Shutterstock)

Indigenous communities are partnering with a leading climate change solutions company to deliver the East Kimberley Clean Energy Project, which is set to become one of the nation’s largest clean energy projects.

The East Kimberley Clean Energy Project will take advantage of the region’s abundant sunshine, fresh water and export-ready harbour to create Australia’s first 100% renewable energy hydrogen and ammonia production hub.

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The project is being created under a first-of-its-kind partnership in which the traditional owners of the land—MG Corporation and Balanggarra Aboriginal Corporation—will join the Kimberley Land Council and climate change investment and advisory firm Pollination as equal shareholders of the project development process and the company created to oversee it.

“This project represents a just, ambitious and achievable vision for Australia’s clean energy future,” Pollination head of projects Rob Grant said.

“It leverages the natural advantages and existing energy and port infrastructure already in place in the East Kimberley region to create a major new clean energy export hub that will help Australia and our region decarbonise, grow new industries and ensure traditional owners and local residents are shareholders, not just stakeholders, in the benefits.”

Project scoping has been completed and development will continue over the next 12 months. Pending the completion of feasibility and capital raising stages, construction could commence as early as late 2025 with first production by end of 2028.

Stage one of the project involves building a greenfield 900MW solar farm—the largest in Australia—and a 50,000 tonne per annum hydrogen production facility—on MG Corporation freehold land near Kununurra, Western Australia. Electrolysis will convert fresh water from Lake Argyle into green hydrogen, which will be transported via a new 120km pipeline to the existing Port of Wyndham.

The hydro facility at Lake Argyle will supply baseload renewable energy to an ammonia production facility in Wyndham, producing approximately 250,000 tonnes per annum of green ammonia. The result will be Australia’s first and only 100% renewable green hydrogen and ammonia project.

Green ammonia produced by the facility will be used locally in agriculture and for export to key trading partners in Asia and Europe.

“The main requirements for green hydrogen production are clean water, sunlight and renewable energy sources and all are abundantly available in this project,” Grant said.

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“Dozens of governments worldwide, many of them in our neighbourhood, have already issued a hydrogen strategy—flagging how critical this resource is going to be as the world moves towards net zero.”

“The Australian Government has placed green hydrogen at the heart of its plans to become a clean energy superpower in the future global economy and this is exactly the kind of project that will be critical in making good on that ambition.”

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