Why are Fortescue and green hydrogen making news again on Friday?

The company’s green energy leg has earmarked a coal-fired power plant as a future hydrogen production facility.

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Key points

  • Fortescue Metals' renewable energy subsidiary, Fortescue Future Industries is looking into transforming a soon-to-close US coal-fired power plant into a green hydrogen production facility  
  • The facility could help decarbonise some of the United states' hard-to-abate sectors 
  • Currently, the Fortescue share price is $19.17, up 0.84% 

Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX: FMG)’s green energy venture, Fortescue Future Industries is looking to spin a retired coal mine into a green hydrogen production facility.

Fortescue founder and chair, Andrew Forrest said the project could help North America transform into another “global green energy heartland”.

Let’s take a closer look at how the green hydrogen leader could shift gears at the coal-fired power plant.

Fortescue Future Industries eyes ageing coal asset

Fortescue’s green hydrogen leg has signed an agreement with the Industrial Park at TransAlta – located in the US state of Washington – under which it will explore the potential production of green hydrogen at the site of the state’s last coal-fired power plant.

The park sits adjacent to the Centralia power plant. It’s earmarked for closure in 2025.

FFI believes transforming the site into a green hydrogen production facility could birth a hydrogen hub in the United States’ Pacific Northwest region.

The futuristic fuel’s production facility might appear odd alongside the fossil fuel-powered relic.

However, it could help to decarbonise some of the United States’ hard-to-abate sectors like long-haul trucking, ports, aviation, and heavy industry, according to FFI North America CEO, Paul Browning.

Forrest commented:

Repurposing existing fossil fuel infrastructure to create green hydrogen to power the world is part of the solution to saving the planet.

The signing of this agreement is another important step in … implement[ing] the technologies carbon emitters need to reach net zero.

The green energy entity intends to employ those working at the soon-to-close power plant at the proposed facility. FFI is also looking to apply for a US Department of Energy Hydrogen Hub Program grant alongside other stakeholders.

It’s the latest in a string of coal-fired power plants FFI has flagged for future re-purposing. In fact, it’s not even the first time Forrest has labelled a region a future “global green energy heartland”.

He previously used the stirring term when describing Australia’s Hunter Valley. There, FFI is exploring generating green hydrogen at AGL Energy Limited (ASX: AGL)’s Liddell and Bayswater coal-fired power stations.

Right now, the Fortescue share price is $19.17, 0.84% higher than its previous close. Meanwhile, the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) is recording a 1.5% gain.

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