Australia’s first renewable hydrogen microgrid powers up WA

Denham in Western Australia’s Gascoyne region is now home to Australia’s first remote renewable hydrogen microgrid.

The $9.3 million Denham Hydrogen Demonstration Plant produced its first hydrogen, which was celebrated by Energy Minister Bill Johnston and Hydrogen Industry Minister Alannah MacTiernan.

The plant is anticipated to be able to provide the average energy needs of 100 families or 20% of Denham’s population and companies, once it is fully operational in early 2023.

Additionally, it will yearly offset 140,000 liters of diesel and offer a pathway toward decarbonization for upcoming energy systems.

The facility includes a 704 kW solar farm, a 348 kW hydrogen electrolyzer, and a 100 kW fuel cell that offer a cutting-edge replacement for diesel generators.

The Western Australian state government contributed $5.7 million to the project, including $1 million from the Renewable Hydrogen Fund. Through its Advancing Renewables Program, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency has contributed $2.6 million to the project.

Australia-based Horizon Power and Hybrid Systems are carrying out the project.

Bill Johnston, minister of energy: “I congratulate Horizon Power and Hybrid Systems Australia on their successful completion of Australia’s first remote hydrogen microgrid.

“As we work toward the McGowan Government’s commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2050, the Denham Hydrogen Demonstration Plant is driving the energy shift to new technologies.

The Denham demonstration “expands understanding of hydrogen technology and systems in practice and analyzes how this technology may be utilized in other distant power systems.”

Alannah MacTiernan, minister of the hydrogen industry: “The WA Government’s commitment to ensuring Western Australia realizes its potential as a renewable hydrogen powerhouse is demonstrated by the Denham Hydrogen Demonstration Plant here in Shark Bay.

“The facility will demonstrate how renewable hydrogen may be used to replace diesel and other fossil fuels once it is fully operational, helping Western Australia achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

“This initiative has helped us develop key skills and understanding to take us along as a producer and user of renewable hydrogen,” says the author. “It is the first step towards rolling out renewable hydrogen domestically.”