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Business | Energy & Utilities | Mining & Resources

How Kwinana is working towards its net zero future

3 Aug 2023, by Amy Sarcevic



With the likes of BP and Woodside Energy planning hydrogen hubs, the Kwinana Industrial Area of the Western Trade Coast is fast building a reputation as a hotspot for decarbonisation initiatives. But with plans to build a new port, Westport, now steaming ahead, what will this mean for the area’s carbon footprint?

Chris Oughton, Director of the Kwinana Industries Council, says, in addition to industry efforts, there are a range of initiatives giving hope to Kwinana’s net zero future.

“We have lots of new companies and industry subsectors coming to Kwinana that are involved in various stages of the clean energy value chain.

“At the top end, the Western Trade Coast will become a major source of green hydrogen and will eventually become a significant exporter. Supporting this, we also have energy companies and refineries that deal with battery precursor materials.

“All of these relate to the decarbonisation story and will be major stimulants for related industry development,” he said.

BP’s pivot from oil refining to green hydrogen is a particularly significant move and is expected to set a precedent for existing and prospective residents, Chris said.

“This is an incredibly big decision for a large company to make and one I have a lot of admiration for. I am sure the boldness of this move will inspire others, particularly those in the local area, and out into WA’s regions.”

Local companies that aren’t involved in the clean energy value chain, are also refocusing their energy reliance toward green fuel and to delivering cleaner operations, Chris said.

“We have noticed a big shift in the area and a much greater willingness to incorporate sustainability objectives. We know this is just the start of a growing trend.”

Alongside industry efforts, a Ministerial taskforce dedicated, in part, to helping the region decarbonise is also making headway with its plans, Chris highlighted.

“There is a lot of work going on in terms of planning for a better future for the Western Trade Coast and it will be interesting to see these planning reports turn into action on the ground.”

Meanwhile, the Kwinana Industries Council has set out its agenda for a three phase decarbonisation project.

“The first phase was an inventory of emissions and commitments, the second was fact finding around available technologies, and the third is implementation, and we’re into this phase now” Chris said.

Among the decarbonisation strategies it wants to pursue are reticulated green hydrogen and carbon dioxide, and industrial scale renewable energy.

“The fact this could be scalable right along the length of the Dampier to Bunbury Pipeline Corridor is an exciting prospect not just for Kwinana, but also for all of the regions that will be able to connect into it,” Chris said.

“Our next major task is to build a business case for each of these key strategies and win some government support to help us as we go.”

Together, Chris believes these efforts will help him realise his grand vision for the Western Trade Coast. However, they won’t be possible without connectivity to the regions, he said.

“For a major employment hub with 30,000 workers, a decarbonisation process is a big deal and will need everyone working together towards the same goal. Industry doing the doing, and government doing the facilitating, with both working together as partners in achieving the same goal for the State.

“But ultimately I see a hub and spoke model where Kwinana is at the hub – that’s where most of the energy is consumed and where most of the exports will happen.”

Chris Oughton is Director of the Kwinana Industries Council – the Western Trade Coast’s peak industry association that serves members by taking up issues of collective interest.

Hear more from him at the Kwinana Major Projects 2023 Conference, due to take place 21-22 August 2023 at the Esplanade Hotel Fremantle by Rydges.

Learn more and register here.




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