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South East Region Hydrogen Hub & Spoke Model Feasibility Study

Delivering the Future Energy System for Hopetoun and Norseman, while assessing hydrogen production in the Esperance region

Project overview

Through our Integrated Resource Planning (IRP) framework, we engage with local communities to determine the long-term energy solutions that best meet their needs. This approach involves early engagement and thorough planning as the foundation for a more collaborative path to decision making that affects the regions we serve.

Commencing in 2022, this Commonwealth grant funded feasibility study will assess the potential for cleaner, greener energy in Hopetoun and Norseman.

The project will aim to improve our understanding of the viabiliy of hydrogen as a renewable energy solution. This will involve exploring its ability to displace diesel, when renewables such as solar and wind are not available.

Initial stages of this project will involve assessing the feasibility of:

  • Producing green hydrogen in the region using spill energy from the Esperance Renewables Hub, existing wind turbines and new green sources
  • Storing, transporting and using that hydrogen to decarbonise the systems of Hopetoun, Norseman and future generation SPS units. 

The project is also exploring the complementary use cases to make sense of the viability assessment findings.

The path forward

The path forward

This study will assess the production of hydrogen, transportation, storage and use to decarbonise our power stations and stand alone power systems as a fuel source to displace fossil fuels. It would work in cooperation together with more well known renewable sources of solar panels, wind turbines and battery energy storage systems.

The impact of hydrogen in the South East

The feasibility study in the South East of Western Australia will focus on;

  • the viability of small-scale hydrogen production at an Esperance-based hub, using spill energy, new and existing assets;
  • transportation and storage of hydrogen
  • the end use of hydrogen in the Hopetoun and Norseman energy systems, and future generation standalone power systems (SPS).
The impact of hydrogen in the South East
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    Study variations

    To provide comparison points, the study will also consider the following variations:

    • the base case outlined on the preceding page, plus additional hydrogen production for sale in a small/medium market, serving a separate, customised need
    • local hydrogen production in Hopetoun and Norseman (excluding a hub in Esperance)
    • purchased hydrogen from a third-party supplier.
    Modest third party load

    Modest third party load.png

    Import from third party

    Import from third party load.png

Why Hydrogen?

Fuel for the future

Hydrogen is the most abundant chemical element in the universe. It can be used as a clean fuel alternative that, when consumed, produces only water. A common method to produce Hydrogen is through electrolysis, which involves using electricity to separate water molecules into oxygen and hydrogen.

A cleaner, greener choice

As hydrogen is a clean energy source, the development of hydrogen energy systems has become the focus of global research efforts. Our determination to meet our customers’ future energy needs in a responsible and sustainable way is driving our investment in this space, together with the Western Australia and Commonwealth governments.

Hopetoun and Norseman Future energy system

We are currently assessing supply options from 2026 onwards, for Hopetoun and Norseman's future energy, beyond existing arrangements.

Through this study we will consider optimised modelling for our Norseman and Hopetoun systems, irrespective of the viability of hydrogen. This assessment will look at solar, wind, batteries and customer products in the future energy supply.

Hopetoun and Norseman Future energy system
Powered by the community

Powered by the community

The success of our IRP framework is built on frequent engagement with a variety of local stakeholders. Engagement is ongoing with the Shires of Esperance, Hopetoun and Norseman, as well as the Goldfields-Esperance Development Commission and Traditional Owners.

The findings from this study will be supported by customer insights gathered at engagement events and engagement with local Shire and the Goldfields-Esperance Development Commission (GEDC). 

For your opportunity to have a voice in this process, please see the community engagement dates below, or get in touch using our enquiry form at the bottom of this page.

What's happening now?

Community engagement events

Following insights gathered from initial engagements with Shires and GEDC, customer insights are being planned to gather sentiment surrounding hydrogen and potential customer products.

After COVID delays, three community engagement events have been planned for 2022. These will be:

  • Thursday 27th of April - Esperance
  • Tuesday 3rd of May - Norseman
  • Thursday 5th of May - Hopetoun
Project foundations are underway

Engineering and financial modelling have begun and will set the foundations for a successful study. 

Land assessment is also progressing, with the Horizon Power team liasing with Shires for feedback, identification of potential suitable land, assessment from tenure aand engineering perspectives.

What does this mean for the community?

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    What is hydrogen?

    Hydrogen is the most abundant chemical element in the universe. It can be used as a clean fuel alternative that, when consumed, produces only water. A common method to produce hydrogen is through electrolysis, which involves using electricity to separate water molecules into oxygen and hydrogen.

    Hydrogen 1.png

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    What is green hydrogen?

    The term ‘green hydrogen’ refers to when the electricity used to produce hydrogen is supplied via renewable energy generation (solar, wind etc). The hydrogen is then stored and can be used for several applications.

    In the context of a town’s electricity network, green hydrogen can be used to supplement a town’s renewable energy generation and provide a zero-emission fuel source at times when the natural resources are not available.

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    Where would the hub be located?

    The study will consider multiple locations for the hub and provide a recommended site based on several factors, including community sentiment and a detailed cost-benefit analysis.

    The study is focusing on the hub in the Esperance region as a central point to deliver to ‘spokes’. However, it is also considering local production in other areas and purchase of hydrogen from third parties as comparison points.

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    How will it be transported?

    The study will consider multiple methods of transport including rail, road transport, and pipelines.

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    Are you considering different storage types?

    Yes, hydrogen can be stored in both gas and liquid form, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. The study will recommend the storage type and strategy to best suit the project objectives.

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    What would happen in Hopetoun and Norseman?

    This study will help Horizon Power understand the role in which Hydrogen could play in the Future Energy Systems of these towns. 

    In parallel, we are assessing the Future Energy Systems of these towns irrespective of hydrogen. We are exploring higher renewable energy penetration solutions using solar, wind and batteries to reduce carbon emissions and fossil fuel reliance.

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    More questions?

    If you’d like to speak with someone about the South East Region Hydrogen Hub & Spoke Model Feasibility Study including the future energy system of Hopetoun or Norseman, please fill in the enquiry form on the next tab or email IntegratedResourcePlanning@horizonpower.com.au

Project milestone Target date
Stage 1: Initial assessment and optioneering January to April 2022
Stage 2: Selection of preferred model for refinement January to April 2022
Stage 3: Market assessment January to May 2023
Following the study findings, the project will move towards either implementing an outcome with hydrogen, or implementing a non-hydrogen solution that still includes high penetration renewables. Beyond 2023

Have your say on the Esperance Hydrogen Hub & Spoke Model

Which towns are you interested in?
Do you have any concerns or thoughts about the renewables we are exploring?
What renewable energy products would you be interested in utilising at your home?

Horizon Power acknowledges the Traditional Custodians throughout Western Australia and their continuing connection to the land, waters and community. We pay our respects to all members of the Aboriginal communities and their cultures; and to Elders past, present and emerging.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that this website may contain images, names or voices of deceased people.