Sydney-based Origin Energy has announced plans to build up to five big batteries and a 300 MW electrolyzer near Townsville, Queensland, with a production capacity of more than 36,000 tons of green hydrogen per year.
During an investor day presentation on Thursday, CEO Frank Calabria said the company is determined to maximize its opportunities in renewables, with a net zero emissions target by 2050. A key element of the transition strategy is energy storage, with the company eyeing more than 800 MW of battery storage at a handful of sites.
Earlier this month, Origin Energy submitted plans to build a two-stage, 300 MW solar and battery storage project near Morgan, South Australia. In its application to the State Commission Assessment Panel, the company said it was seeking consent for the first stage of the project, with up to 150 MW of solar and 30 MW battery storage.
On Thursday, Origin Energy also outlined plans to install big batteries at three of its biggest gas generator plants. That includes up to 300 MW in Mortlake, Victoria, up to 200 MW at Uranquinty, New South Wales, and an unspecified size in Darling Downs, Queensland.
Origin Energy is also mulling plans to build a big battery at the 2.88 GW Eraring coal generator, which is due to close in 2032. The size of the Eraring battery was yet to be revealed.
Greg Jarvis, Origin Energy’s executive general manager of energy supply and operations, said the company is evolving to better position itself to increase renewables. The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) said in its Integrated System Plan that renewable energy may provide nearly 90% of the nation’s electricity needs by 2035.
AEMO has indicated that large-scale battery energy storage systems, distributed batteries, and virtual power plants will all provide increased dispatchable resources. And Jarvis said that Origin Energy is actively engaging with the government to participate in renewable and firming initiatives.
Origin Energy is also focusing on opportunities related to green hydrogen. It is working with Japan’s Kawasaki Heavy Industries on a 300 MW project in Townsville and has already completed a feasibility study. Engineering and design work are expected to start within the current financial year.
Origin Energy is also working on a green hydrogen and ammonia project in Bell Bay, Tasmania. It has launched a AUD 3.2 million (US$2.36 million) feasibility study for a proposed 500 MW plant capable of producing more than 420,000 tons of ammonia per year for the domestic and export markets.
Felicity Underhill, Origin Energy's general manager of future fuels, said that green hydrogen has tremendous potential.
“Origin has been exploring how hydrogen can best fit into Australia’s energy system and is progressing a number of opportunities,” she said. “As an integrated energy company operating in key parts of the value chain, Origin is ideally placed to develop large-scale green hydrogen and ammonia projects and connect them to markets, either to stimulate a domestic hydrogen economy or to enable the export of energy produced from renewable sources.”
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