Port hydrogen hub proposal in danger

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If Viva Energy’s proposed floating gas terminal at the Port of Geelong is built, a $100 MILLION green energy hub would be thwarted.

Geelong Port has secretly submitted a request to Victoria’s Planning Minister for its Geelong Hydrogen Hub on the same location, claiming that the hydrogen hub and the gas storage infrastructure cannot coexist.

Geelong Port’s proposal will establish a production and distribution facility for green hydrogen produced from imported ammonia, thereby assisting the transition of industrial gas users away from the usage of fossil fuels. The port manager has requested that the state government assess preliminary project plans to determine if an Environmental Effects Statement (EES) is required for approval.

An EES is a rigorous evaluation of plans that have the potential to have a substantial impact on the environment, and it is now being used to evaluate Viva’s terminal. Geelong Port referred its plan to Planning Minister Richard Wynne on May 5, as an Inquiry and Advisory Committee for Viva’s EES prepared for public hearings that begin this month. According to its submission, approval of the Viva project would signify the end of its hydrogen effort.

The ultimatum was bolstered by expert testimony from maritime civil engineering consultant Martin Mannion, compiled on behalf of Geelong Port as part of the Viva investigation.

According to Mr. Mannion’s report, the Geelong Port project would have a lesser impact on its surroundings than Viva’s proposal, due to its position further away from land, ammonia being a lower-risk cargo than liquified natural gas, and ammonia-carrying vessels generally being smaller than their LNG counterparts.

Viva Energy has proposed a Geelong Energy Hub for the development and production of alternative energy sources, with prospective projects including a solar energy farm and battery, a hydrogen refueling station, and crude oil storage. However, Viva claims that its gas terminal would be an integral part of its energy center and the first project to be constructed.

Geelong Port’s planned Geelong Hydrogen Hub was initially unveiled late last year in conjunction with worldwide green hydrogen producer CAC-H2.

It has solicited more project partners for the production and utilization of materials and will initiate community and stakeholder engagement this year in preparation of its facilities going online by the end of 2023.

Nedim Husomanovic

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