At an Asian Investment Conference last week, Iron ore miner Andrew Forrest detailed his company’s plans to produce the world’s lowest cost green hydrogen and green ammonia via a potential pipeline of 1000 GW of renewable energy assets.
The Fortescue Group announced the companies within the group would aim to achieve carbon neutrality on its Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2030, through absolute emissions reduction rather than the use of offsets.
The Fortescue boss plans on developing green iron ore, running his trains and trucks on renewable energy and operating ships on green ammonia. He also invests heavily in renewable energy and clean technology through his private company Squadron. Squadron recently took a 75% stake in WindLab, a wind energy development company and is potentially a cornerstone to Forrest’s clean energy ambitions.
As part of his plan to provide Australia with dispatchable renewable energy, Forrest has declared he will meet federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor’s April deadline for a commitment to build new generation capacity in NSW, if state and federal development approvals and underwriting occurs.
Squadron Energy will develop a 635MW gas and hydrogen-fired power station at Port Kembla. Equipment supply will be fast-tracked to meet first generation in 2023 in line with the closure of Liddell power station. This may also prevent the federal government building its own 1,000MW gas turbine using conventional gas.
Initial plans for the power station were larger, however AEMO flagged the 1000MW single unit to be a potential risk to system security. The proposed smaller 635MW unit now meets AEMO guidelines with Squadron expected to build a second generator of the same size at the same site.
The proposed $1.2B Port Kembla power station would be located next to the LNG import terminal under development. Squadron was already investing “millions of dollars” in the power project, which would be complemented by hundreds of megawatts of wind power projects planned by the newly acquired wind developer Windlab.
As wind and solar power is key to the success of Forrest’s clean energy ambitions, he has put pressure on politicians on the west coast as well as the east coast to allow more development of renewable energy. The West Australian government is set to implement changes to land tenure laws so thousands of hectares of land covered by cattle stations can be turned into large scale solar and wind farms to support green hydrogen production.
So, with Australia’s new leader in renewable generation and emission reductions emerging, backed by his proven business ability, the renewable energy industry, and the energy sector as a whole, looks like we are in for a shake-up.