TASMANIA’S renewable energy goals have reached a milestone with demolition of the former Bell Bay Power Station now underway, clearing the path for construction of the Bell Bay Powerfuels project. 

The $1.2 billion project involves construction of a green hydrogen and methanol plant at the Bell Bay site, to be overseen by Australian project development company ABEL Energy.

The facility is projected to have a yearly output of 300,000 tonnes, generating green hydrogen onsite to then produce green methanol. ABEL has previously highlighted the opportunity for Tasmania to become “a global leader in green methanol production, the future fuel of world shipping”.

Tasmanian minister for energy and renewables Nick Duigan said the Bell Bay Powerfuels Project is the most advanced export scale green hydrogen project in Tasmania.

“Today is a symbolic milestone in Tasmania’s renewable energy journey, removing the old thermal power station to make way for the future of renewable energy, green hydrogen production” he said.

“I am pleased that the Bell Bay Powerfuels Project aims to take advantage of Tasmania’s offerings to produce 300,000 tonnes of renewable, green methanol per year and provide new renewable energy generation in time to support projects of megawatt scale.

“I am confident that these developments will underpin the development of a world class green hydrogen industry in the state.”

News of the development came as ABEL Energy announced the appointment of Simon Talbot as its new CEO, with former CEO Michael van Baarle assuming the role of executive chairman.

“As a proud Tasmanian the importance of taking on this CEO role and delivering Tasmania’s biggest commercial project in over a generation is not lost on me,” Mr Talbot said.

“The Bell Bay Powerfuels project alone will create over 500-pluss jobs, abate 540,000 tonnes of CO2 [and] provide a $3 billion economic contribution to regional communities.”

Mr Talbot has over 25 years of experience in the agri-food and agri-forestry sectors, and “has shown great leadership and has played an important part in ABEL Energy’s successes” according to Mr Van Baarle.

Commercial operation at the Bell Bay Powerfuels site is scheduled to commence in 2027.

Term sheets for the new Bell Bay site were signed in June 2023, only two months after a memorandum of understanding was signed between seven maritime and energy signatories, to explore the feasibility of establishing a green methanol bunkering hub at the port of Melbourne, with green methanol transported from sites in Bell Bay and Portland.