Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP), a Danish renewables giant, has announced ambitious plans to develop a massive green hydrogen production hub in South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula.
The project, known as Evergreen, aims to integrate approximately 14 GW of solar and wind capacity along with 7 GW of hydrogen electrolysis capacity, totaling a staggering $30 billion investment. The development will contribute significantly to Australia’s renewable energy landscape, supporting the transition to a cleaner and more sustainable future.
Evergreen is set to include around 4 GW of solar power, a remarkable 10 GW of onshore wind farms, and 7 GW of hydrogen electrolysis capacity. The project area encompasses the region between the Spencer Gulf and the Great Australian Bight, with the Gawler Ranges to the north. CIP’s Vice President, Matthew Stuchbery, shared that Evergreen is part of their extensive 30 GW development pipeline in Australia, which also includes the advanced Murchison Renewable Hydrogen Project in Western Australia.
Stuchbery emphasized the importance of community engagement in the project’s development. CIP has been actively collaborating with farmers and traditional owners for over a year to address their concerns and aspirations. The goal is to ensure that the project aligns with local interests while delivering substantial renewable energy benefits. The proposed development encompasses approximately 1600 turbines and a proportional solar capacity to balance the energy mix.
The chosen locations for the wind and solar components of Evergreen have been strategically identified. Crown Land near Iron Knob, northwest of Whyalla, offers vast pastoral stations and relatively flat terrain, making it ideal for wind energy. Stuchbery commented that the entire region is suitable for solar installations. For the hydrogen aspect, Whyalla is a focus area where CIP will compete for space with other major players like Fortescue and Total.
Stuchbery highlighted the critical role of competitive electricity prices in achieving cost-effective hydrogen production. Before proceeding with the project, CIP plans to install measurement masts to gather accurate data. This will allow them to assess the viability of competitive hydrogen production based on the electricity prices in the region.
In addition to engaging with farmers and traditional owners, CIP aims to involve the broader community in discussions regarding the project’s potential impact and benefits. The Eyre Peninsula holds significance as the traditional home of the Barngarla, Nauo, and Wirangu peoples, and CIP is committed to respecting Native Title rights and fostering a collaborative approach.
CIP’s announcement coincides with the South Australian government’s release of plans to accelerate the development of hydrogen and renewable energy projects in the state. Through a streamlined regulatory process, the government aims to facilitate the efficient development of large-scale wind and solar farms and commercial hydrogen production projects.
The Australian federal budget has also allocated $2 billion for green hydrogen projects, with further commitments expected to enhance Australia’s competitiveness in the global hydrogen market. Stuchbery welcomed these developments and emphasized the need to capitalize on Australia’s competitive advantages to drive the growth of the green hydrogen industry.
Looking ahead, Stuchbery emphasized the importance of strengthening and aligning approval processes across the country to facilitate the construction of renewable energy projects. Addressing supply chain constraints is another critical aspect for large-scale projects like Evergreen and Star of the South. Stuchbery called for a comprehensive assessment of onshore capabilities and supply chain capacity to ensure the successful realization of these ambitious ventures.