A proposed 8 gigawatt green hydrogen hub in Western Australia involving French oil giant Total has reached another milestone, with local government showing support for the project.

Project owner Province Resources revealed Tuesday it had signed a memorandum of understanding with the Shire of Carnarvon to investigate suitable areas for developing infrastructure as part of the proposed HyEnergy Zero Carbon Hydrogen project.

It added the investigation would focus on assessing the viability of a 12,311-hectare area north of the Carnarvon township for part of the proposed project’s infrastructure.

If the area is found to be suitable, Province stated the parties would negotiate in good faith and enter into a formal long-form agreement.

The MoU will run for six months, from 1 May, and carries an option for Province to extend the agreement a further six months.

Total backed development

The agreement comes just weeks after Province revealed it had signed a binding MoU with Total Eren – the renewable energy group part-owned by French supermajor Total – to carry out a feasibility study into the proposed HyEnergy project.

If the companies elect to move forward with the proposed development, they will each hold a 50% stake in the project, with development of the integrated hybrid renewable energy capacity to be led by Total Eren.

“Our HyEnergy Zero Carbon Hydrogen project is proposed to be one of the biggest commercial scale green hydrogen projects in the world, and we and our partners Total Eren are looking forward to progressing the project with the Shire of Carnarvon and local stakeholders continued support,” Province managing director David Frances said Tuesday.

“Province looks forward to planning a community consultation and stakeholder meeting in the next few months with the assistance of the Carnarvon Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Gascoyne Development Commission and the Shire of Carnarvon.”

Commercial scale wind and solar

Province believes the Gascoyne region is suitable for both commercial scale wind and solar developments, with an annual mean wind speed at Carnarvon of 25.5 kilometres per hour, while it also averages 211 sunny days per year, with an average solar exposure of 6.24 megawatt hours per square metre per day.

The proposed HyEnergy project also lies near the existing Dampier to Bunbury gas pipeline, which is targeted to carry 10% of blended renewable hydrogen by 2030.

Province also claims there is room for a ship loading terminal to help service the potential future export market, while it has also identified a potential site to extract sea water for an electrolyser plant.

Province sees the HyEnergy project being developed in two stages, with the installed renewable energy capacity eventually anticipated to total 8GW.