BHP’s Nickel West division is among seven companies to have been shortlisted and invited to submit a full application for the next stage of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency’s (ARENA) A$70 million ($49 million) hydrogen funding round.
In April, ARENA opened the Renewable Hydrogen Deployment Funding Round to help fast track the development of renewable hydrogen in Australia. The funding round is expected to play a significant role in supporting commercial-scale deployments of renewable hydrogen in Australia and commence the pathway to achieving the Australian Government’s goal of ‘H2 under $2’, ARENA said.
Nickel West is a fully integrated mine-to-market nickel business where all operations (open pit and underground mines, concentrators, a smelter and refinery) are in Western Australia. The integrated business adds value throughout the company’s nickel supply chain, with the majority of Nickel West’s current production sold as powder and briquettes, BHP says.
In addition to BHP Billiton Nickel West Pty Ltd, the other shortlisted applicants are APT Management Services Pty Ltd; ATCO Australia Pty Ltd; Australian Gas Networks Ltd; Engie Renewables Australia Pty Ltd; Macquarie Corporate Holdings Pty Limited; and Woodside Energy Ltd.
The total grant requested across all seven is over A$200 million, with a total project value of almost $500 million, ARENA said.
“All applicants have well developed projects that involve deploying 10 MW or larger electrolysers, made up of various end uses including transport, gas injection, renewable ammonia production, power and industrial use,” it said.
ARENA aims to support two or more of the shortlisted large-scale renewable hydrogen projects, with these projects expected to be among some of the largest electrolysers in the world.
“Each project will need to be powered by renewable electricity, either directly or through a contracting approach,” ARENA explained.
During the initial application stage, ARENA received 36 expressions of interest, totalling more than A$3 billion of renewable hydrogen projects.
ARENA CEO, Darren Miller, said: “We’re excited to be able to invite these seven projects to submit full applications for ARENA funding. Our ultimate goal is to bring the price of renewable hydrogen down to be competitive with other forms of energy and be at the forefront of renewable hydrogen production. The best way to help build a hydrogen industry is to support projects that will help demonstrate the technology at scale, and share the lessons learned to help the industry as a whole reduce risk and costs as well as increase efficiency.”
Applicants invited to the full application stage will have until January 2021 to prepare their application, with ARENA expecting to select the preferred projects by mid-2021.
Successful projects are expected to reach financial close by late 2021 and commence construction in 2022.
All applicants may also be considered for financing from the Clean Energy Finance Corp (CEFC) under the CEFC’s A$300 million Advancing Hydrogen Fund.
ARENA says it has already committed over A$55 million for renewable hydrogen projects including $22.1 million towards R&D projects, as well as feasibility studies into large-scale projects and smaller-scale demonstrations looking at renewable ammonia, power to gas and hydrogen mobility.