Siemens is partnering on a 5 000-megawatt combined solar and wind farm in Western Australia that will produce renewable hydrogen for potential export. File Photo: IOL

INTERNATIONAL – Siemens is partnering on a 5 000-megawatt combined solar and wind farm in Western Australia that will produce renewable hydrogen for potential export to Asia.

The Murchison facility will use Siemens’ electrolyser technology to convert power from the solar and wind units into hydrogen, it said in a joint statement with developer Hydrogen Renewables Australia. 

The project’s location, north of the coastal town of Kalbarri, makes it “one of the most cost-effective” spots in Australia to produce clean energy, according to the statement.

HRA has six years to scale up the project to enable exports to Japan and South Korea, ramping up to full capacity by 2028, when it could be supplying as much as 10 percent of Asia’s hydrogen demand, said chief executive Terry Kallis. Total investment is seen at about A$10 billion (R103 billion).

Murchison is the latest in a string of hydrogen projects announced in Australia recently, as the country looks to develop the fuel for potential export into Japan and South Korea. A government report in 2018 found that the industry could be worth over $1 billion to the economy annually by 2030.

“Australia has potential like no other country in the world for hydrogen production and export, as long as we act upon the opportunity quickly,” said Siemens Australia Pacific chief executive Jeff Connolly.

The project will be developed in stages. The first is a demonstration phase providing hydrogen for transport fuels. The second will involve blending with natural gas in the nearby Dampier-to-Bunbury pipeline. The third will be an expansion to produce hydrogen for Asian markets.

HRA has held preliminary talks with the state and federal governments, and will start a consultation process with local stakeholders in November.

Bloomberg