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The South Australia Government has signed an early contractor involvement (ECI) agreement with preferred partners to deliver its Hydrogen Jobs Plan.

A consortium comprising ATCO Australia and BOC, a Linde company, is the preferred hydrogen delivery partner for the plan, which includes proposals for the world’s biggest hydrogen production facility, power plant and storage at Whyalla in the Upper Spencer Gulf.

The ATCO Australia and BOC consortium has committed to an ECI agreement with the South Australian government that will see the proponent undertake detailed project and engineering design, procurement of critical equipment, finalise contracting arrangements and cost estimations.

The government has also entered an ECI agreement with South Australian energy infrastructure company EPIC Energy to develop an integrated pipeline and hydrogen storage solution.

The agreements follow a detailed six-month evaluation assessment process of 29 proposals received from companies worldwide.

The ATCO and BOC consortium stood out as the preferred proponent, with an end-to-end solution encompassing design and build experience in electrolysers, generators, on-site storage as well as operational expertise.

The design and construction of the Hydrogen Power Plant will include 250MW of electrolysers designed to Linde’s global engineering standards.

In a world-first, the project will see the installation of 100 per cent hydrogen-operated fast-startup turbines.

ATCO Australia is part of the $22 billion ATCO Group, a global business providing innovative and integrated solutions in electricity, pipelines and logistics, including operation of the 180MW Osborne Power Station in Adelaide.

BOC Linde is a subsidiary of Linde, one of the world’s leading industrial gases and engineering companies with global revenue of US$33 billion and an established hydrogen business along the entire value chain.

Both ATCO and BOC have had operations in SA for more than 60 years.

Epic Energy’s storage solution would provide a dual-purpose storage and transmission pipeline, providing infrastructure connections for hydrogen production expansion and industrial offtake to support an emerging industry.

Backed by a $593 million state government investment, the Hydrogen Jobs Plan is an initiative designed to re-industrialise the Upper Spencer Gulf region using clean energy and solidify South Australia’s position as a global hydrogen powerhouse.

The project’s operations are set to commence in early 2026.

The Hydrogen Jobs Plan aims to:

  • Provide jobs for South Australians
  • Enhance South Australia’s grid security, through new dispatchable generation
  • Prove large-scale hydrogen production and generation technology
  • Help unlock pipelines of renewable energy developments and business opportunities
  • Activate other hydrogen projects in development, including export-focused projects
  • Support South Australia’s continued clean energy transition and decarbonisation

South Australia Premier, Peter Malinauskas, said, “This is a world-leading opportunity for South Australia, that has the potential to rival Victoria’s gold rush, the coal boom in Queensland, or Western Australia’s development of iron ore and gas.

“We have all the things the world will need to decarbonise – abundant copper and magnetite, the world’s best coincident wind and solar resources, world-leading renewable energy penetration and soon, the ability to harness this abundant clean energy in the form of hydrogen.

“We can use this clean hydrogen to firm our electricity grid, but more than that, we can use it to help reindustrialise the Upper Spencer Gulf, creating thousands of jobs in the process.”

South Australia Minister for Energy and Mining, Infrastructure and Transport, Tom Koutsantonis, said, “For two decades South Australia has shone bright in the race to 100 per cent net zero, thanks in part to our exceptional sun and wind resources to generate renewable power.

“The Hydrogen Power Plant in Whyalla continues this momentum, and our world leadership using hydrogen for renewable energy storage, and enabling us to ship the sun beyond our shores.

South Australia Member for Giles, Eddie Hughes, said, “This is an investment which will transform the future of the Upper Spencer Gulf, and secure long term productive job opportunities for Whyalla and beyond.

“We have an opportunity to grow our reputation as a global renewable energy powerhouse.

“But more than that, we can use this clean energy to produce green iron and steel, providing the world with the essential building blocks needed to decarbonise.

ATCO Australia CEO and Country Chair, John Ivulich, said, “ATCO is delighted to be selected as a consortium partner for the design of the world’s biggest hydrogen plant that will unlock decarbonisation opportunities and enhance prosperity for generations.

“We truly have a shared purpose with the South Australian Government to build better communities and this project will be transformational for the community, customers and the country.

“ATCO is committed to the energy transition across the globe and our combined expertise at energy, partnering and delivery over many decades makes this project a significant milestone in our history.”

BOC Head, Theo Martin, said, “Solutions for the transition to a low-carbon economy are gaining momentum, and we welcome the opportunity to contribute our extensive hydrogen expertise and technology to milestone projects such as the hydrogen production facility and power plant in Whyalla.

“We are proud to expand our contribution to the region and look forward to progressing work with the South Australian Government, stakeholders and the local community.

Epic Energy Chief Executive Officer, Clive D’Cruz, said, “The Hydrogen Jobs Plan is a transformational opportunity set to benefit South Australians for generations.

“Epic Energy brings more than 50 years of experience in supplying South Australian industry and the community with energy pipeline and storage solutions, and we’re looking forward to playing a role in bringing to life this world-leading decarbonisation opportunity.”

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