Energy Economy

28 Feb 2022

Australia’s Squadron Plans $2.2bn Renewables Project

28 Feb 2022  by   
Australian energy firm Squadron Energy plans to build a A$3bn ($2.15bn) wind, solar photovoltaic (PV) and battery project in Queensland.

The project will have a nameplate capacity of more than 1,000MW. It will be located about 150km south of Mackay in Queensland and to the north and east of the state's main coal producing region in the Bowen basin.

The Clarke Creek wind and solar project was being developed by Australian renewable energy firm Lacour Energy and Chinese-owned wind turbine maker Goldwind, which together were developing stage one of the project of 450MW of wind.

Squadron, which is privately owned by Australian mining entrepreneur Andrew Forrest, has acquired stage one and two of the Clarke Creek project. Stage one is expected to go online in 2024, with stage two possibly coming online in 2026, the firm said. The first stage of the project has a 15-year supply agreement with Queensland state-owned utility Stanwell Energy.

The acquisition of the Clarke Creek project coincides with another arm of Forrest's business empire announcing that it had started construction work on the 2,000 MW/yr electrolyser plant at Gladstone in Queensland, which is expected to come on line in 2023, said Fortescue Future Industries (FFI), the green energy arm of Australia's third-largest iron ore producer Fortescue Metals Group. Forrest is the largest shareholder in Fortescue Metals.

The first stage of construction is the A$114mn electrolyser facility that will form part of a larger manufacturing plant supplying equipment such as cables, batteries, wind turbines and solar panels to renewable energy projects, FFI said. The electrolyser facility will also produce more than 200,000t/yr of green hydrogen.

The first electrolysers manufactured at the facility in early 2023 are earmarked to be used in Queensland at FFI's proposed green hydrogen to ammonia project at Gibson Island. FFI said it was working with Australian fertilizer and chemicals firm Incitec Pivot in October to study converting the 50,000 t/yr Gibson Island ammonia production facility to green hydrogen from natural gas as a feedstock.

The electrolyser factory is a 50-50 joint venture, subject to approvals, between FFI and US hydrogen fuel cell producer Plug Power.

The Clarke Creek wind and solar project, once on line, would make a significant contribution to achieving Queensland's greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction target of 30pc below 2005 levels by 2030. Coal fuels around 75pc of Queensland's power generation, and is the largest single source of the state's emissions.


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