SA’s $593m hydrogen development open for proposals

Brandon How

South Australia’s $593 million Hydrogen Jobs Plan, which will include the development of a hydrogen electrolyser, hydrogen power station, and a hydrogen storage facility, is now open to local and international proposals.

A 250MWe hydrogen electrolyser, 200MW hydrogen power station, and a 3,600 tonne hydrogen storage facility, equivalent to two months of production, must be delivered by December 2025. The facilities will be owned by the state government.

Supply, construction, and operation of the Australia-first hydrogen plant and equipment proposals are being requested. It is also calling for interest in offtake agreements for the green hydrogen produced at the facility.

The request for proposal process will run until February 21, 2023, with the contracts expected to be awarded in July 2023. The plan was a key commitment of the Malinauskas Labor government ahead of its election victory in March.

Office of Hydrogen Power SA chief executive Sam Crafter at Cultana Industrial Estate

Earlier this year, the state government undertook a market sounding process for the delivery of the Hydrogen Jobs Plan and claimed to have received global interest from 60 organisations.

At the time it said the project would “unlock the development of a $20 billion pipeline of renewable energy projects and catalyse the creation of new jobs in the supply chain industries”.

Previous estimates from South Australian Labor put the cost of the electrolyser at $220 million, the hydrogen storage facility at $31 million, and the power station at $342 million.

South Australia’s Energy and Mining minister Tom Koutsantonis said the state is making a “once-in-a-generation investment in green hydrogen,” putting the Upper Spencer Gulf region at “the epicentre of a renewable energy revolution”.

“Local power, local jobs, global exports, global leadership — we will seize this opportunity to transform not just the energy sector but potentially the state’s economic future,” Mr Koutsantonis said.

“Our state is globally recognised as a leader in renewable energy generation, and our coincident wind and solar is our prime advantage, making us perfectly positioned to become a word leader in green hydrogen production, storage and export.”

Office of Hydrogen Power SA chief executive Sam Crafter said the state government has a “really ambitious and tight timeframe to have [the facilities] up and running by the end of 2025”. He also said the electrolyser would be the world’s largest when complete in 2025.

Several potential development sites within a 15km radius to the northeast of Whyalla have been identified by the state government’s Office of Hydrogen Power SA, in collaboration with Traditional Owners, the Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation, and the Whyalla City Council.

The preferred locations for the hydrogen production facility and the hydrogen power station are at a 238-hectare site in the Whyalla Industrial Estate and a 8.7-hectare site in the Cultana Industrial Estate, respectively. There is potential to connect the facilities through a direct hydrogen pipeline.

A hydrogen export and industrial hub was touted for development at Port Bonython by the previous South Australian Liberal government. It previously announced that Fortescue Future Industries, Origin Energy, Santos, H2U, Chiyoda, ENEOS, Mitsubishi, AMP Energy would partner on the project.

The previous federal Coalition government committed up to $70 million through its Australian Clean Hydrogen Industrial Hubs Program to the Port Bonython hub. The Albanese government renamed the program to the Regional Hydrogen Hubs Program, which includes around $438 million over the forwards estimates for the development of seven hydrogen hubs.

The government has also committed about $23 million for various hydrogen facility design and feasibility studies as well as up to $71.9 million to support the development of the Townsville Hydrogen Hub.

In the South Australian 2022-23 Budget, $30 million was set aside for the development of a Clean Hydrogen Industrial Hub at Port Bonython, which it said will be a $140 million partnership with the federal government and private industry.

According to the state government, South Australia generated 69 per cent of its energy from renewable resources in 2022.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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