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Australia’s Origin Energy plans major green hydrogen, battery storage projects

November 30, 2020

Renew Economy:

Australian energy utility Origin Energy has thrown its hat deeper into the ring for the promising green hydrogen sector, flagging plans for a huge 300MW electrolyser in Townsville and production of more than 36,000 tonnes of green hydrogen a year for the export markets

Origin has also signaled its interest in building up to five big batteries, including at the site of Australia’s biggest coal generator, Eraring – which is due to close in 2032 – and at other sites including existing gas fired generators and a new solar farm in South Australia.

In its investor day presentation on Thursday, Origin says it is working with Japan’s Kawasaki Heavy Industries on the project in Townsville, and has already completed a feasibility study. It expects engineering and design work to begin this financial year. Its also targeting a green ammonia project in Tasmania, this time of 500MW and 420,000 tonnes for the domestic and export markets, and plans to begin engineering and design work on that project next financial year.

CEO Frank Calabria says Australia is a likely supplier of renewable fuels given its renewable energy potential and geographic proximity to growing Asian markets. He says demand will be customer led, but Japan looks strong from the mid-2020s and other markets in Asia will emerge in the 2030s.

Origin says it is looking at a potential big battery at the 2.6GW Eraring coal generator, the biggest in Australia and which is due to close in 2032. Origin says it is working hard to improve the flexibility of the generator’s four units to deal with the growing amounts of rooftop solar and large scale renewables.

It does not reveal the likely size of the big battery at Eraring, but says it is considering batteries at three of its biggest gas generator plants – up to 300MW at Mortlake in Victoria, up to 200MW at Uranquinty, and an unspecified size at Darling Downs in Queensland. As reports last week, it is also considering a 300MW solar and storage plant at Morgans in South Australia. It has not yet narrowed down the hours of storage, as that will depend on the market opportunities that it identifies.

[Giles Parkinson]

More: Origin eyes huge Townsville green hydrogen project, five big battery options

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