Hydrogen deal talks for Whyalla steelworks

The state government and the owner of the Whyalla Steelworks will explore a deal for the latter to use hydrogen offtake from a publicly funded power station.

Feb 26, 2024, updated Feb 26, 2024
Hydrogen power is being considered for Whyalla steelworks. Photo: David Simmons/InDaily

Hydrogen power is being considered for Whyalla steelworks. Photo: David Simmons/InDaily

The Malinauskas Government and GFG Alliance which owns the steelworks have signed an agreement to explore commercial supply from the Port Bonython power station near Whyalla, due to open in 2026.

The government is spending $593 million on its hydrogen plan to lead the shift to clean energy, export to the rest of the world and stimulate the state economy.

The steelworks is already on the path to phasing out coal-based steelmaking and reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

Premier Peter Malinauskas was pleased to have interest in a supply deal.

“Global demand for green steel is already rising and is forecast to surge in the coming years,” he said.

“Whyalla will be perfectly positioned to capitalise on this opportunity.”

Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said GFG’s investment in a green transformation program was exactly the type of project the government wanted to make possible through its hydrogen plan.

The taxpayer-funded 200-megawatt power station will use South Australia’s excess renewable energy to produce renewable hydrogen. Hydrogen will be kept in a 3600-tonne storage facility and used to fuel the power station, as well as be available to industry.

The government also on Sunday announced the preferred supplier of turbines at the power station.

US company GE Vernova will provide four turbine generators. These are expected to run on renewable hydrogen, generated on-site by 250-megawatt electrolysers.

The turbines, set to commence operations in early 2026, are engineered for regular starts and stops, which is important for grids that experience a high penetration of renewable generation.

The government said the first group of workers needed to construct the hydrogen infrastructure will be housed in cabins constructed at local caravan parks.

An initial 32 cabins will be built at Discovery Parks’ Whyalla Foreshore Caravan and Holiday Park and then a further 50 are under negotiation with the Upper Spencer Gulf business Bentley’s Cabin Parks.

– with AAP

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