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ARENA backs feasibility study on East Kimberley Clean Energy and Hydrogen Project

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The federal government’s Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced a $1,666,701 grant to Aboriginal Clean Energy Partnership (ACEP) to support Phase 1 of the feasibility study for the East Kimberley Clean Energy and Hydrogen Project.

The total value of the Phase 1 study is $3,333,403, and according to ARENA represents “a key step in progressing the development” aiming to generate large-scale renewable energy, renewable hydrogen and renewable ammonia for export from the Kimberley region of Western Australia.

Phase 1 commences immediately and is scheduled for completion in five months.

If proven feasible, the proposed facility would include approximately 1,000 megawatts of solar generation, paired with 850 megawatts of electrolysis capacity on Yawoorroong Miriuwung Gajerrong Yirrgeb Noong Dawang Corporation (MG Corporation) land, outputting 50,000 tonnes per annum of renewable hydrogen.

The hydrogen would then be transported by underground pipeline to Balanggarra Country in Wyndham and combined with existing hydropower from the Ord Hydro power station to produce around 250,000 tonnes per annum of renewable ammonia for export from Wyndham Port to key trade partners in Asia as well as for domestic use.

It would be one of the world’s largest renewable hydrogen and ammonia production facilities, and come with an estimated capital cost of between $2.7 and 3.2 billion.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said the project would demonstrate how First Nations groups can take a leadership role in the energy transition and represents the kind of development Australia needs to deliver on the goal of becoming a renewable energy superpower.

“ARENA is working with ACEP to explore how First Nations communities can have a greater say and a greater stake in Australia’s renewable hydrogen ambitions,” said Miller.

“This project will pave the way for First Nations-led renewable energy developments and ARENA will be working to ensure the lessons we learn from East Kimberley inform future projects.”

Kimberley Land Council Aboriginal Corporation (KLC) Chairman, Anthony Watson added: “This project will show it is possible to design a future where economic prosperity, Indigenous empowerment and caring for country work hand in hand.”

ACEP was formed in 2022 as a joint venture between native title representative holders Yawoorroong Miriuwung Gajerrong Yirrgeb Noong Dawang Corporation (MG Corporation), Balanggarra Ventures Ltd (Balanggarra), and KLC as well as climate and nature investment and advisory firm Pollination. Each partner holds an equal share in the Partnership.

Picture: credit Aboriginal Clean Energy Partnership

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