A hydrogen and methanol production facility will be built in Tasmania by Iberdrola in partnership with Abel Energy. The plant’s initial output is scheduled for 2026 and its construction will cost $1.7 billion.
The announcement comes in the wake of a $1.3 million feasibility study into the Bell Bay Powerfuels Project that was partially funded by the government and was completed in September. The study predicted an initial output of 200,000 tonnes of green methanol annually, making it one of the largest projects of its kind globally.
A second stage would increase the manufacturing capacity by another 100,000 tonnes.
The project relies on utilizing Tasmania’s rich hydro and wind resources to electrolyze water to make hydrogen, which will subsequently be used to create green methanol, primarily for the expanding green maritime fuel market.
The Tasmanian government’s initiatives to develop its green industries and increase the generation of ammonia and hydrogen with zero emissions have focused on the Bell Bay industrial complex.
In order to increase demand for new renewables in the island state, Rio Tinto is exploring onsite electrolyzers for hydrogen production. In February, the company inked a contract with the state’s government that ensures the Bell Bay aluminum smelter’s long-term existence.
In 2020, Iberdrola, which has more than $230 billion in assets worldwide, acquired a significant presence in Australia when it acquired the ASX-listed wind producer Infigen Energy. It has been mentioned as a potential buyer for CWP Renewables’ wind and solar assets.
Since then, it has made investments in the Port Augusta renewable energy hub in South Australia, the largest hybrid wind-solar farm in the nation, which recently finished construction on its 210MW wind component, as well as the Avonlie solar farm and the Flyers Creek wind farm in central New South Wales.
Additionally, it has investments in battery storage, including running the Lake Bonney large battery close to the Lake Bonney wind farm and owning the contracting rights to the recently finished Wallgrove battery in New South Wales.
Iberdrola has bought the rights to the 360MW Broadsound solar PV project in Queensland as well as the rights to the 1GW Mt James wind project. Also purchased was Autonomous Energy.