PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The New South Wales government has given its blessing for energy provider EnergyAustralia to develop Australia’s first net zero emissions, hydrogen/gas power plant, striking an A$83-million funding agreement.
EnergyAustralia has been given approval for the expansion of its existing Tallawarra power station, in the Illawarra region, which will use a blend of green hydrogen and natural gas.
EnergyAustralia MD Catherine Tanna said that Tallawarra B would be Australia’s first net zero emissions hydrogen and gas capable power plant, with direct carbon emissions from the project offset over its operational life.
Under the funding agreement, EnergyAustralia will offer to buy enough green hydrogen, equivalent to over 5% of the plant’s fuel use, from 2025, amounting to some 200 000 kg of green hydrogen per year, and would offset direct carbon emissions from the project over its operational life.
EnergyAustralia will also invest in engineering studies on the potential to upgrade Tallawarra B so it can use more green hydrogen in its fuel mix in the future.
“We thank the New South Wales government for its support for Tallawarra B. It means the station will be operating in time for the summer of 2023/24, following the closure of the Liddell power station, and it will help to kick start the green hydrogen industry,” said Tanna.
“We are leading the sector by building the first net zero emissions hydrogen and gas capable power plant in New South Wales,” she said.
“What’s particularly exciting is that further engineering studies will see if the amount of green hydrogen can increase, which will further support the Port Kembla Hydrogen Hub.”
The Tallawarra plant expansion is estimated to deliver a A$300-million boost to the Illawarra economy and create hundreds of jobs during peak construction. Once developed, the 300 MW facility could start within 25 minutes and power around 60 000 New South Wales homes.
Tanna said Tallawarra B will provide New South Wales with improved energy security, reliability and flexibility options.
“Our new open-cycle, hydrogen and gas capable turbine will provide firm capacity on a continuous basis and paves the way for additional cleaner energy sources to enter the system.
“EnergyAustralia has a goal of being carbon neutral by 2050. Today we provide further evidence of another energy project that can help keep the lights on for customers with reliable, affordable and cleaner energy.”
New South Wales Minister for Energy Matt Kean said the project sets a new benchmark for how gas generators can be consistent with New South Wales’ plan to be net zero by 2050 by using green hydrogen and offsetting residual emissions.
Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said investing in this cutting-edge technology will help secure power generation and put our State in a prime position to capitalise on an export industry that is predicted to be worth A$1.7-billion annually by 2030.
“As we recover from the pandemic, embracing emerging industries will help recharge our economy by creating new jobs and opening up new opportunities that will secure our economic prosperity well into the future,” Perrottet said.
“Hydrogen is quickly emerging as a major economic opportunity for our state and this investment will keep us ahead of the curve by positioning New South Wales as a world-leader in hydrogen production.”