AGL, Fortescue strike deal to turn Hunter coal plants into huge green hydrogen hub

Australia’s biggest polluter AGL Energy has struck a deal with iron ore billionaire and green hydrogen evangelist Andrew Forrest to turn its Hunter Valley coal fired power stations into a major renewable hydrogen and industrial hub.

Liddell Power Station Hunter Valley NSW Australia - optimised

The vision shared by AGL and Forrest’s Fortescue Future Industries is to power the “Hunter Energy Hub” with wind, pumped hydro, solar thermal storage, and grid scale batteries, and to attract industry to the facility.

The ageing Liddell coal generator is due to close in early 2023, and Bayswater is expected to run for another decade or so, although many analysts anticipate an earlier closure.

The MoU is one of dozens signed in Australia and around the world by FFI as it seeks to deliver on Forrest’s highly ambitious plan to produce 15 million tonnes of green hydrogen a year by 2030. Those plans include huge electrolyser factory in Queensland, and a potential gigawatt scale solar manufacturing facility.

“Fortescue is leading the charge on the development of green hydrogen in Australia and abroad, and we are excited to bring our site and expertise in large-scale renewable generation to the fold,” AGL CEO Graeme Hunt said in a statement.

“We believe this project, along with the others in our Hunter Energy Hub, could drive the development of around 1,000 permanent jobs across energy production, advanced manufacturing, recycling and the production of chemicals.”