As the ground broke on the world’s largest electrolyser production facility, Fortescue Future Industries chairman Andrew Forrest announced Tattarang’s $3 billion acquisition of the largest renewables farm in the southern hemisphere.
On Sunday Mr Forrest announced the acquisition of Clarke Creek wind, solar and battery farm while attending the sod-turning ceremony for the construction of the first stage of FFI’s Green Energy Manufacturing Centre (GEM) in Gladstone, Queensland.
By 2030, FFI aims to produce 15 million tonnes of green hydrogen annually, creating an energy emission saving equivalent to taking 60 million cars off the road.
GEM stage one entails the construction of a $114 million electrolyser facility, with the first electrolyser to roll off the production line in early 2023. This will produce 50,000 tonnes of green hydrogen annually at FFI’s proposed hydrogen to ammonia project at Gibson Island, Queensland.
The acquisition of both stages of the Clarke Creek project was completed by Squadron Energy, the energy division of the Forrest family’s investment group Tattarang.
At completion, the farm will include a big battery, 800MW of wind generation and 400MW of solar generation. This energy is sufficient for 660,000 homes or the equivalent of 40 per cent of Queensland households. It will save an estimated 2.7 million tonnes of carbon emissions annually.
Being located 150km northwest of Rockhampton, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the project would be greatly beneficial to Central Queensland.
“The Clarke Creek wind and solar farm will support regional jobs during construction,” Premier Palaszczuk said.
“Delivering such a huge renewable energy boost takes Queensland closer to achieving our targets of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2050.”
Mr Forrest said that Australia’s green transition was well on its way thanks in part to the Clarke Creek project.
“We have commenced construction of what will be the largest renewable energy precinct in the southern hemisphere – but I am delighted to say that we will not hold this record for long, with other renewable energy projects under development that will surpass our project in scale. We intend to bring on other projects which will be larger than today’s record,” Mr Forrest said.
Electricity will be sold into the National Electricity Market which will help lower prices. However, 350MW have been committed to state owned energy company Stanwell Corporation through a 15-year power purchase agreement that was signed in 2020 under the previous owners.
Feasibility studies were completed in 2016 under the previous owners who also obtained all relevant approvals. After construction on the first stage begins in March, operations are expected to begin in 2024 with the second stage potentially beginning in 2026.
Later GEM stages will add manufacturing capability in line as FFI’s and it’s customers needs demand. This may include wind turbines, high-voltage cables, and solar panels.
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