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Billionaire eyes Washington’s last coal plant for green hydrogen

13 May 2022 - 10:59 By Georgina McKay and Rob Verdonck
Fortescue Future Industries will study converting Centralia coal mine in Washington
Fortescue Future Industries will study converting Centralia coal mine in Washington
Image: Bloomberg

The clean energy unit of Australia’s Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. is considering building a green hydrogen facility near Washington State’s last operating coal-fired power station. 

Fortescue Future Industries entered into a binding exclusivity agreement with an industrial park near TransAlta Corp.’s Centralia facility, which is scheduled to close in 2025, the Perth-based company said Friday in a statement. FFI said it intends to seek to employ the existing coal workforce for the proposed project. 

Metals miner Fortescue and its biggest shareholder, billionaire Andrew Forrest, have announced a slew of potential investments in a bid to become one of the world’s biggest clean energy producers over the next decade. The world’s fourth-biggest iron ore exporter has a line-up of multibillion-dollar projects to reach that goal, ranging from a plan to supply Europe together with German energy giant EON SE to buying Williams Advanced Engineering Ltd. 

“FFI’s goal is to turn North America into a leading global green energy heartland and create thousands of green jobs now and more in the future,” Forrest said. “Repurposing existing fossil fuel infrastructure to create green hydrogen to power the world is part of the solution to saving the planet.”

More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com

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