Leading renewable energy company Pacific Hydro has begun a study to assess the potential for a renewable hydrogen plant near Kununurra.
The company has funding from the Western Australian Government for the study, which will consider whether hydrogen could be produced locally using renewable energy generated by The Ord River Hydro Power Plant.
Hydrogen is a flexible, safe, transportable and storable fuel. It can be used to power vehicles and generate heat and electricity and is a key ingredient for producing chemicals such as ammonia.
Pacific Hydro will consider suitable technologies, supply chains and potential markets, water sources and waste management options, and other technical elements.
The former council quarry on Crossing Falls Road, about 10km south-east of Kununurra, has been identified as a potential location for the plant.
Pacific Hydro Australia’s Executive Manager of Projects, Kim van Hattum, said involving stakeholders and communities in development activities from the beginning was as important to Pacific Hydro’s success as technical and financial factors.
“The restrictions in place due to Covid 19 do present some challenges in talking to local stakeholders and members of the community, but with safety in mind we’ll be undertaking ‘socially distanced’ engagement over the next few months,” she said.
“We want to help people to understand the project and provide an opportunity for them to ask questions – even if we don’t have all the answers just yet.”
The Western Australian Government is supporting the study as part of its Renewable Hydrogen Strategy which aims to position the state as a major producer, user and exporter of renewable hydrogen.
If the project goes ahead, it would position Kununurra as a frontier for the next generation of renewable energy in Australia.
Mrs van Hattum said: “Now more than ever, Australia needs to transition to a low carbon economy, and develop innovative responses to the challenges of energy affordability and efficiency, and we’re excited to be part of the solution.”
She said the proposed plant would provide significant employment opportunities during construction and help to diversify the local economy.