Montem Resources (ASX:MR1) has taken its Tent Mountain coal mine restart project in Alberta through an abrupt U-turn and has re-badged it as a renewable energy project integrating wind and pumped hydro to produce green hydrogen.

The project, whose claim to fame came from its proximity to the Grassy Mountain coal project operated by Gina Rinehart’s Riversdale Resources, will combine a 100 megawatt wind farm with 320MW of pumped hydro energy storage and a 100MW green hydrogen electrolyser to provide the Canadian state with power grid stability as it phases out coal.

Investors loved the news, sending the stock up almost 100% by close of business Monday.

As for why Montem decided to make the decision, that’s easy.

The company probably took a look at the Alberta state government’s decision in June to deny environmental approval for Grassy Mountain and decided that it was unlikely that it would secure environmental approval to restart its own mine, an opinion shared by investors who slashed 52% of the value of its shares.

Canadian environment minister Jonathan Wilkinson’s announcement the same month of ‘no more thermal coal projects’ no doubt played a part in its decision.

Green hydrogen play

The company noted that independent expert studies had confirmed that Tent Mountain had the potential to serve as a renewable energy complex and that the Piikani Nation have agreed to explore its mutual benefits.

It will use offsite wind power to power the pumped hydro portion of the project, which will store the energy used for the hydrogen electrolyser to produce up to 13,000t of green gas per annum.

Hydrogen produced by the project will then be compressed and stored before transportation for either domestic use or for export.

Managing director Peter Doyle said the project could result in the first large scale production of hydrogen in Canada while the pumped hydro storage will play an important role in filling Alberta’s electricity supply gaps.

“We are re-purposing our existing assets at Tent Mountain, which include large water reservoirs on land we own, and easy access to infrastructure, including rail, high voltage power lines, gas pipelines, and the interprovincial highway,” he added.

“The various technical, economic, and social studies we have completed over the past six months show technical viability, and strong returns over a 50+ year project life.”

Montem has also applied for C$5m in funding from Canada’s Clean Fuels Program.