ARENA announces hydrogen microgrid funding

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced $2.6 million in funding for Australia’s first remote microgrid using renewable hydrogen generation in Western Australia.

Horizon Power will build the microgrid, with the project being a first-of-its-kind demonstration that will use solar and renewable hydrogen generation and storage to provide 526 MWh of dispatchable renewable electricity – enough to power approximately 100 homes.

The plant will comprise of a 348 kW hydrogen electrolyser with accompanying compression and storage and a 100 kW fuel cell, alongside 704 kW of solar that will power the electrolyser to produce hydrogen.

The hydrogen will then be stored and used later in the fuel cell to deliver electricity when it is needed.

The plant will be connected to the hybrid power station system in Denham, WA and, if successful, will look to be replicated in other remote power systems across Horizon Power’s portfolio.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said Horizon Power’s demonstration would be a great indicator of the potential for renewable hydrogen to displace diesel for energy generation in remote communities across Australia.

“Remote and off-grid communities like Denham suffer from high energy costs due to costly diesel-based energy generation systems,” said Mr Miller.

“The potential for these communities to generate, store and use their own renewable energy could simultaneously reduce costs and reduce emissions without sacrificing the reliability of energy supply.

“With projects like this and our $70 million commercial scale funding round, ARENA is hoping to reduce the overall cost of producing renewable hydrogen, in line with the National Hydrogen Strategy.”

“Clean hydrogen could be a major export industry in the future, but in the near term we can utilise renewable hydrogen for domestic purposes and we’re excited to see how Horizon Power’s first-of-a-kind project could transform remote area power systems into state of the art renewable energy hubs.”

Horizon Power CEO Stephanie Unwin said the Denham Hydrogen Demonstration Plant will extend the company’s knowledge and technical capability of hydrogen operating systems and test how to integrate and deploy this technology into remote diesel microgrids.

“This plant will demonstrate how hydrogen can reliably produce power for our towns currently dependent on diesel fuel power systems and allow us to transition our network away from higher emission generating sources and meet our target of no new diesel generation systems from 2025,” said Ms Unwin.

 “This technology has the potential to be an environmental game changer for many remote towns in WA and other similar locations around Australia, and allow greater uptake of reliable cleaner, greener renewable energy sources in the future.”

Construction of the project is expected to commence in August 2021 and be commissioned by December.

For more information visit the ARENA website.

If you have news you would like featured in The Australian Pipeliner contact Managing Editor David Convery at dconvery@gs-press.com.au

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