The new power plant combines biogas and hydrogen – meets criticism
New South Wales will build a power plant that mixes biogas with green hydrogen. Skeptics, however, point out that nothing forces the energy company to ever leave biogas.
Australia’s most populous state, New South Wales, has invested more than half a billion kronor in the expansion of the Tallawarra power plant, with a new facility which can run dual fuels simultaneously. Initially, Tallawarra B will be run on biogas, and the idea is to gradually switch to green hydrogen in the coming decades.
The plant will be in operation 2023–2024 and then replace the existing coal-fired power plant. With a capacity of just over 300 kW, Tallawarra B has the capacity to supply around 150,000 homes, but the task will be to step in as support at the times when electricity consumption peaks, writes Energy Australia in a press release.
The company has undertaken to buy 200 tonnes of green hydrogen gas per year from 2025, which will be mixed into the biogas to five percent. However, it is possible to increase that percentage if the spirit falls on – and it may be needed. To halve carbon dioxide emissions, the new power plant would need to be operated with 75 percent hydrogen.
Cleaner than scrapped coal power plant
Proponents of green energy are outraged at the degree to which the Australian government is leaning towards biogas in reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Environmentalists are not happy that public funds have been invested in a biogas-powered power plant, reports New Atlas.
But at the same time, the biogas is much cleaner than the coal-fired power plant that is being shut down – and the possibility of securing electricity during peak consumption opens up for an easier transition to green energy such as solar and wind, where delivery is uneven during the day. This until you have established energy storage in the style of Elon Musk’s giant battery.
A positive side effect is that Energy Australia’s promised purchases can serve as an incentive for local contractors who want to produce green hydrogen. At the same time, there is no binding agreement that will ever force the energy company to operate its power plant exclusively on green water. In its press release, Energy Australia writes that further technical studies will show whether the proportion of green hydrogen can be increased.