Billionaire Andrew Forrest Plans Dual Gas, Hydrogen Power Plant

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06/07/2019 | 12:56 am
Andrew Forrest


By Rhiannon Hoyle



SYDNEY--Australian billionaire Andrew Forrest said he is determined to build a dual gas- and hydrogen-fired power station in New South Wales state, tapping into a liquefied natural gas import terminal that is proposed by a consortium he leads.



Australian Industrial Energy, a consortium of domestic and foreign companies that counts Mr. Forrest's Squadron Energy as its biggest investor, recently received government approval for an LNG import terminal in Port Kembla, an industrial hub south of Sydney.



"It has always been my ambition--and I've mentioned this to Stu [Johnston, Squadron Energy's CEO] from day one--to put a power station next to it," Mr. Forrest said in an interview.



Consequently, Mr. Forrest said he's interested in reserving capacity at the proposed gas import terminal for the planned power station, without specifying how much.



"Stu would probably prefer the whole lot get sold in advance," Mr. Forrest said. "But as a person who's starting a major energy company, which is what Squadron is, I am really seriously interested in a large tranche of that being reserved."



The AIE consortium is currently seeking to secure agreements with potential LNG suppliers and customers for the import terminal. A final investment decision on that project is expected around the middle of this year.



Mr. Forrest, founder and chairman of iron-ore miner Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. (FMG.AU), didn't put a time frame on his plans to build a new power station. "But the need is now," he said.



The Australian Energy Market Operator, the nation's electricity overseer, forecast in March a potential gas shortfall in eastern states beginning in 2024. Others forecast the shortfall happening sooner.





Write to Rhiannon Hoyle at rhiannon.hoyle@wsj.com





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