• Major global oil and gas company Shell acquires half share in Australian wind developer WestWind Energy
• FFI reveals development of fully rechargeable, zero-emission battery electric Infinity Train
• Province Resources’ green hydrogen project moves to next phase of development


A new partnership between WestWind Energy (51%) and Shell Energy (49%) has been established to grow and accelerate the development of wind energy projects in Australia.

WestWind is the developer of what has been dubbed ‘the largest wind project in the southern hemisphere’, Golden Plains, which will remain separately owned by the company with equity investor TagEnergy.

WestWind plans to deliver the existing 3,000 MW pipeline of renewable energy capacity across NSW, Victoria, and Queensland, significantly faster than under the current development plan.

“This is an exciting day for WestWind Energy and, more importantly, for Australia’s transition to a clean energy economy,” WestWind Energy managing director Tobias Geiger said.

Shell Australia country chair Tony Nunan said this move marks the company’s first wind investment in Australia.

“This is a significant step in our goal to build a low carbon integrated business in Australia, in line with our customers’ evolving energy needs,” he said.

“WestWind has an impressive pipeline of Australian wind projects and proven capability in the development of onshore wind here and, via its parent company WestWind Group which has its headquarters in Germany.”

The investment is expected to complete in 2022 and is subject to regulatory approvals.


Development of world-first Infinity Train kicks off

Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) – the green leg of Twiggy Forrest’s Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG) – announced on Tuesday its plan to develop a battery electric Infinity Train that will rid the miner of having to use diesel-powered fleet to carry iron ore to port by using downhill sections of Fortescue’s rail network to recharge its battery electric systems.

Through its recent purchase of Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE) – an offshoot of the Williams F1 team founded by the revered, late Sir Frank Williams CBE – FFI said the Infinity Train will help the company reach its goal of net zero emissions by 2030.

Studies and development costs for the Infinity Train total around US$50 million over the next years and will be classified as operating cost efficiencies, with the studies to refine the capital estimate and schedule.

Fortescue’s current rail operations include 54 operating locomotives that haul 16 train sets, together with other on-track mobile equipment.

Each train has the capacity to haul 34,404 tonnes of iron ore in 244 ore cars with Fortescue’s rail operations consuming 82 million litres of diesel in financial year 2021, 11pc of Fortescue’s scope 1 emissions.

This diesel consumption and associated emissions will be eliminated once the Infinity Train is fully implemented across Fortescue’s operations, significantly contributing to Fortescue’s target to be diesel free by 2030.

The technology, to be jointly developed by Fortescue and WAE, will address the reduction in emissions in the hard-to-abate heavy industry sector with significant opportunities for this technology to be commercialised on a global basis.


Completion of scoping study allows HyEnergy to move forward

Province Resources (ASX:PRL) has completed the scoping study for its planned HyEnergy green hydrogen development in the Western Australia’s Gascoyne region, allowing the project to move forward to the next pre-feasibility study phase.

The scoping study found that thanks to the prevailing wind conditions and quality of the solar resource in the Gascoyne region, optimised configuration of wind turbines and solar farms would lead to a relatively high-capacity factor and electrolyser utilisation.

Development requirements which were part of the scoping study included solar arrays and wind turbines, transmission lines, electrical infrastructure, road works, electrolysers, batteries and hydrogen storage and administration buildings.

PRL signed a binding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with global renewable energy and independent power producer, Total Eren, back in April 2021 to work jointly on the scoping study and the partners have now begun discussions on a JDA.

Province and Total Eren have also executed an MOU with Perth-based Global Energy Ventures to study the export of green hydrogen to Asian markets using a compressed hydrogen marine supply chain, which PRL says is “progressing well.”


EGR partners with Vermeer to explore low emission mining methods

Diversified battery anode materials company EcoGraf (ASX:EGR) has signed a non-binding MoU to partner with Vermeer Equipment Suppliers to investigate low emission mining methods at the Epanko Graphite Project in Tanzania.

Vermeer Equipment Suppliers is the sub-Saharan African distributor of Vermeer Manufacturing Company established in the USA in 1948 and is the manufacturer of high-quality underground construction, surface mining, agricultural and environmental equipment.

The two entities have agreed to evaluate a new and alternative surface mining concept to economically mine, load, and haul Epanko ore, with a resulting lower environmental impact and carbon footprint than conventional mining processes.

Under the agreement, EcoGraf will provide Epanko’s extensive geotechnical, geological, structural, and mining data to Vermeer to undertake an initial study to provide technical and economic data relating to surface miner performance.

If the results of that study are sufficiently encouraging, EcoGraf and Vermeer will together formulate a practical onsite test.


GEV appoints European business development advisor

Global Energy Ventures (ASX:GEV) continues to grow its presence in Europe with the appointment of Mats Fagerberg in a new business role where focus will revolve around development relationships with strategic partners and projects in Europe.

These partners and projects will be those best placed to benefit from GEV’s compressed hydrogen export supply chain.

His recent experience includes commercial director with Avenir LNG, where he played a key role in the establishment of Avenir’s small-scale LNG business, and as a partner with Affinity (Shipping) LLP in London, establishing and leading Affinity Energy Infrastructure (AEI), which specialises in end-to-end energy infrastructure solutions.

Mats will be based in Portugal, a country with hydrogen central to its net-zero strategy and considered to be a future low-cost supply centre for renewable hydrogen.

GEV will be opening a corporate office in Norway in July 2022, where it will establish further technical and commercial resources as required to service the European market.