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BHP Nickel West. Image: BHP.

BHP Nickel West has been shortlisted for the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA)’s $70 million funding to develop hydrogen projects.

The company is among the seven shortlisted for the funding, including Woodside Energy, Engie Renewables Australia and ATCO Australia.

The funding is intended to support commercial scale deployments of renewable hydrogen in Australia and help achieve the Australian Government’s goal of “H2 under $2” – to produce hydrogen fuel for under $2 per kilogram.

The total grant requested across all seven companies is over $200 million, with a total project value of almost $500 million.

BHP Nickel West and its contenders have well-developed projects that involve deploying 10 megawatt or larger electrolysers, made up of end uses including transport, gas injection, renewable ammonia production, power and industrial use.

Four projects are based in Western Australia and one each in Queensland, Tasmania and Victoria.

ARENA aims to support two or more of the shortlisted renewable hydrogen projects, which will be expected to be among some of the largest electrolysers in the world.

“Our ultimate goal is to bring the price of renewable hydrogen down to be competitive with other forms of energy and be at the forefront of renewable hydrogen production,” ARENA chief executive Darren Miller said.

“The best way to help build a hydrogen industry is to support projects that will help demonstrate the technology at scale, and share the lessons learned to help the industry as a whole reduce risk and costs as well as increase efficiency.

“A thriving renewable hydrogen production sector will not only help our heavy industry and transport sectors to reduce emissions, but will provide the platform for Australia to export renewable energy and reduce emissions beyond our borders.”

BHP Nickel West is invited to submit a full application for the next stage of the funding round.

ARENA expects to select the preferred projects by mid-2021, and successful projects are expected to commence construction in 2022.