Iberdrola Plans to Invest $1.1B in Green Methanol Plant in Tasmania

Bell Bay
Waterfront site at Bell Bay (ABEL Energy)

Published Dec 21, 2022 9:07 PM by The Maritime Executive

Spanish energy company Iberdrola has joined a growing number of firms seeking opportunities in Australia’s burgeoning hydrogen industry, and it has announced plans to invest more than $1.1 billion in a new green methanol plant.

Iberdrola has partnered with developer ABEL Energy to build a green hydrogen and green methanol production plant at Bell Bay in northern Tasmania, which will have a capacity to produce 300,000 tonnes of green methanol for use as marine fuel.

The project, called Bell Bay Powerfuels, is backed by the Australian government and is designed to produce 200,000 tonnes of green methanol per year in its first phase of development. This would increase to 300,000 tonnes in its second phase, making it one of the largest projects of its kind in the world. The green methanol will be used to supply the maritime market, as well as other applications.

Iberdrola’s massive investment is informed by a growing trend in which leading shipping companies are opting for large ships designed to run on ultra-clean-burning green methanol, a zero-carbon alternative which would eliminate the greenhouse gas emissions generated by the use of fossil fuels.

Australia has emerged as a big player in the hydrogen business. Since the release of the country’s National Hydrogen Strategy in 2019, there is now an $85 billion pipeline of announced hydrogen investments. These include over 15 projects that have passed final investment decision and over 80 announced renewable hydrogen projects.

A big player in renewable energy with an objective of exceeding 60,000 MW of renewable capacity by 2025, Iberdrola is developing 60 renewable and green H2 initiatives in eight different countries. It has acquired Infigen Energy, Australia’s leading renewable energy company, and plans to invest between $2 billion and $3 billion in the country with the aim of reaching 4,000 MW of renewables capacity in the coming years. It is moving fast towards that goal: in the first half of this year, Iberdrola acquired the rights to the world’s largest onshore wind farm at Mount James, with an installed capacity of 1,000 MW.