“Electrolyser” Hydrogen Superhub at Crystal Brook

A $25m ‘Hydrogen Superhub’ will be built by French renewable giant Neoen in Crystal Brook, South Australia. The state government has committed $25m in grants and loans to Neoen to finalise plans and commence construction on the superhub. It still requires development approvals but looks like the project will go ahead. This would be the largest hydrogen plant in the world. 

Hydrogen Superhub at Crystal Brook

Hydrogen Superhub at Crystal Brook
Hydrogen Superhub –
a hydrogen atom with size of central proton shown (source: wikipedia.org)

The 50MW electrolyser facility on wind and solar farm at Crystal Brook would produce up to 400MW of solar and wind power each day, which would then be used to power the hydrogen electrolyser which would create up to 20,000kg of hydrogen daily, according to the ABC.

Tom Koutsantonis, the South Australian Energy Minister discussed SA’s plans with regards to hydrogen production and potential export:

“Our Hydrogen Roadmap has laid the groundwork for South Australia to become a world leader in the emerging hydrogen production industry, and to benefit from the economic opportunities likely to flow from it,” he said.

“More renewable energy means cheaper power, and I’m pleased the State Government can partner with Neoen to once again develop a world-leading renewable energy and storage project following the construction of the Tesla battery at Jamestown.”

MD of Neoen’s operations in Australia, Franck Woitiez, discussed the possibility of exporting the hydrogen intrastate and even into different countries:

“It has the potential to reach beyond our electricity grids, and supply South Australia’s locally produced clean energy to other states and to our nearby trading partners,” he said.

The Flinders News report that the Hydrogen Superhub will create 260 construction jobs, 40 ongoing positions and at least $600 million in Neoen investments. They also note that the Renewable Technology Fund have given grants to three other hydrogen projects:

 

 

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Loy Yang Power Station & Tesla’s Battery

South Australia’s Tesla solar battery was put to the test yesterday and it performed admirably – delivering its full 100MW of power to the grid in 140 milliseconds as the Loy Yang Power station tripped and went offline late last week. 

According to Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis, the battery, which has only been live for less than a month, tripped 140ms after the Loy Yang A3 went offline. This resulted in an immediate loss of 560MW and the Tesla battery (also known as the Hornsdale Power Reserve), reacted immediately, despite being almost 1000km away. 

The AFR quoted Koutsantonis via an interview on 5AA radio last Wednesday: 

“That’s a record and the national operators were shocked at how quickly and efficiently the battery was able to deliver this type of energy into the market,” Mr Koutsantonis said. 

He also noted the rapid speed in comparison to the existing emergency generators:

“Now if we got a call to turn on our emergency generators it would take us 10 to 15 minutes to get them fired up and operating which is a record time compared to other generators,” 

Loy Yang Power Station

Loy Yang Power Station
Loy Yang Power Station (source:tripadvisor.com.au)

With the closure of the 1600MW Hazelwood dirty coal power station earlier this year, the Loy Yang Power station in Traralgon has been doing some heavy lifting. 

Technically it’s split into to sections, Loy Yang A and Loy Yang B. If you count them as one station it’s the largest power station in Australia, generating over 3000MW of power.

Loy Yang A was bought by AGL Energy in 2012, and Loy Yang B was sold by Engie and Mitsui to Alinta for $1 billion last month. 

It’s a base load supply station and produces about a third of Victoria’s energy requirements. 

As such the 100MW the Tesla was able to provide is a drop in the bucket if there was to be a major issue affecting the whole station, but it’s a step in the right direction and amazing to see how well the solution works in a ‘real-world’ situation.

Bring on another 500MW of lithium-ion baseload power! 

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Musk slams SA energy security target.

Despite the Tesla South Australia battery partnership currently being undertaken, Elon Musk’s Tesla has rubbished the South Australian government’s planned SA energy security target, saying it will “hold back technology innovation whilst incentivising incumbent technology … imposing barriers on innovation by excluding rapidly evolving fast response technologies”.

Tesla’s Mark Twidell wrote a submission to the government where Tesla expressed their dissatisfaction with the target, saying “We do not feel that the draft regulations and supporting consultation paper are representative of the current South Australian position as leaders and innovators in the renewable energy space”.

SA Energy Security Target Musk Weatherill
Happier times: Jay Weatherill and Elon Musk before the SA Energy Security Target was announced.(source:theadvertiser.com.au)

SA Energy Security Target

Multiple major organisations have harshly lambasted the SA energy security target, which is planned to commence on January 1 and will require retailers to buy 36% of their power from South Australian sources. This number will rise to 50% by 2025 and, according to Nyrstar, who made a submission to the government about the target, “given the generation market structure and in particular the high concentration of generation in South Australia and the high underlying cost of the predominant fuel (gas), it is debatable whether the scheme will be effective at reducing pricing due to these factors”.

As per an article from the ABC, other submissions range from urging caution because it may not lower wholesale prices, to killing off plans for a new interconnector which was slated to feed power into the state. Momentum Energy said implementation of this energy security target is “unlikely to have any downward pressure on prices, and will instead become a pure pass-through to customers”. Origin Energy called the legislation “unclear”, and Alinta Energy posited that such a scheme could add $100 to an average bill.

For their part, the government stood by the legislation, with the Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis advising in parliament on Tuesday that it will lead to “lower wholesale electricity prices”, and will in turn “incentivise more generation”. No word on how exactly that will happen but we’ll undoubtedly hear more from all sides in the coming months. Opposition energy spokesman Dan van Holst Pellekaan noted that “even” the Greens were critical of the plan, labelled the government’s energy policy as “chaotic” and called for independent economic modelling before “inflicting further pain on long suffering South Australian businesses”.

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