Momentum grows for green hydrogen projects in Tasmania

Woodside Petroleum (WPL.AX) said on Friday it has acquired land for a proposed hydrogen plant in Tasmania, one of three proposed hydrogen projects the island state is promoting to take advantage of its abundant hydropower and wind power.

The aim is to use the available renewable energy to power electrolysers to split water and produce so-called green hydrogen which would then be converted to ammonia for export, part of a push by Australia, a major coal and gas exporter, to help cut carbon emissions.

Woodside is working with Japan’s Marubeni Corp (8002.T) and IHI Corp (7013.T) to export 200,000 tonnes a year of green ammonia to Japan from Tasmania’s Bell Bay area, starting with 300 megawatts of electrolyser capacity.

They aim to make a final investment decision in 2023 and complete construction in 2025 on the project called H2TAS. Woodside has not disclosed a cost for the project yet.

“H2TAS is already garnering interest from existing and prospective Woodside customers in Asia and Europe,” Woodside Chief Executive Meg O’Neill said in a statement.

Fortescue Metals Group (FMG.AX) and Origin Energy (ORG.AX) have proposed similar projects at Bell Bay.

Tasmania’s Energy Minister Guy Barnett said the state was working closely with the projects to create a single export hub, which could qualify for funding from the Australian government’s A$464 million ($338 million) clean hydrogen hubs program. First round bids close on Nov. 22.

“Woodside strongly supports a collaborative approach among proponents and with governments to strengthen Bell Bay as a hub,” Woodside spokesperson Christine Forster said in emailed comments, adding that sharing infrastructure would help keep costs down.

Government support would be needed for its H2TAS project, the company said.

($1 = 1.3734 Australian dollars)