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Hydrogen’s role in WA’s clean energy transition highlighted in new report

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By Colin Hay - 
Western Australia Denham Renewable Hydrogen Microgrid

A new Western Australian government report has confirmed that hydrogen is set to play an important role in the state’s clean energy transition.

Findings from Australia’s first hydrogen microgrid pilot plant estimate that the clean energy fuel can offset 140,000 litres of diesel each year at the initial site.

The WA government’s Public Knowledge Sharing Report on the Denham Renewable Hydrogen Microgrid—the first of its kind in Australia—follows its $5.7 million investment in the project.

Now fully operational, the project includes a 704-kilowatt (kW) solar farm, a 348kW hydrogen electrolyser and a 100kW fuel cell located in Denham, around 830 kilometres north of Perth.

Unique energy integration

WA Premier Roger Cook said the Denham microgrid is a unique integration of renewable energy and hydrogen components.

He added that the new report would help advance learning in technology, costs, regulatory requirements and community sentiment about using hydrogen as a fuel source.

Importantly, it will determine how hydrogen technology can be applied in other remote microgrids.

Important role

“I want to see WA become a renewable energy powerhouse and hydrogen will have an important role to play in our clean energy future,” the premier stated.

“This innovative project helps reduce our reliance on diesel in remote areas, delivering cleaner, affordable and reliable power for Denham.”

“The knowledge we’ve gained through this pilot project will help guide future remote uses of renewable hydrogen across WA and the rest of the nation.”

State and federal backing

The project was funded by the WA government through the Renewable Hydrogen Fund, energy utility Horizon Power and the federal government’s ARENA Advancing Renewables program.

Acting WA Energy Minister Dr Tony Buti said the report had confirmed the great opportunity for hydrogen to play a role in the state’s energy transition.

“As we retire state-owned coal-fired power stations and embrace renewable energy, hydrogen could play a key role in powering our state while creating jobs and business opportunities through new export markets,” he said.

“By displacing diesel with hydrogen in Denham, our government has also demonstrated how this technology could specifically benefit regional communities that are connected to microgrids.”