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Construction has begun on Horizon Power’s hydrogen project in the Gascoyne town of Denham, Western Australia, Australia’s first renewable hydrogen energy plant within a remote microgrid.

The build of the 704kW solar farm is underway to power the innovative hydrogen plant and will feature a 348kW electrolyser, hydrogen compression and storage and a 100kW fuel cell allowing the production and storage of hydrogen.

The remote microgrid project will deliver electricity into the Denham hybrid power system and will generate 526MWh of renewable electricity per year, which is equivalent to the energy required to power 100 residential households in Denham annually.

Construction is expected to begin on the hydrogen power plant in August 2021. Horizon Power is working closely with local and surrounding regional businesses and the community to identify supplier and employment opportunities during construction.

Horizon Power Chief Executive Officer, Stephanie Unwin, said the business has made the strategic decision to upgrade its existing power station in Denham rather than build a new power station.

“Upgrades will be made to the existing station to support the integration of the renewable hydrogen demonstration plant which will test the technical capability of hydrogen as a dispatchable power source in remote microgrids across regional Western Australia,” Ms Unwin said. 

“Horizon Power’s hydrogen plant will demonstrate how hydrogen can reliably produce power for towns currently dependent on diesel fuel power systems. 

“It will allow Horizon Power to transition our network away from higher emission generating sources and meet our target of no new diesel generation systems from 2025.

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

Western Australian Hydrogen Industry Minister, Alannah MacTiernan, said, “Western Australia has an extraordinary opportunity to become a leader in the emerging renewable hydrogen industry and the McGowan Government is on the front foot in taking advantage of this opportunity.

“The demonstration project in Denham is leading the rollout of hydrogen plants in community-based remote microgrids and has the potential to be implemented across the state to benefit a wide range of small towns and communities.

“Investing in renewable hydrogen sends a clear message to the industry that we are serious about Western Australia being powered by clean energy.”

Western Australian Energy Minister, Bill Johnston, said, “The Denham project will keep Horizon Power at the leading edge of new technologies as we work towards the McGowan Government’s commitment to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

“The plant will extend WA’s knowledge of hydrogen systems and allow Horizon Power to consider implementing microgrids and hydrogen technology into other regional areas.”

The project has received $2.6 million funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), as part of ARENA’s Advancing Renewables Program. A further $5.7 million has also been provided by the Western Australian Government as part of its WA Recovery Plan, this includes $1 million from the WA Renewable Hydrogen Fund.

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