BP pays $23 million for WA cropping property to pursue green energy, hydrogen plans


Hydrogen Fuel

Global energy companies are continuing to eye off agriculture land in regional Western Australia for renewable energy developments, with BP the latest to snap up holdings.

Key points:

  • A Mid West agricultural property will be used to house wind and solar generation assets
  • BP plans to create 10 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity across 100 hectares 
  • The land has been leased to neighbouring farming business that will continue to grow crops

BP has secured Daisy Downs, a 27,000-hectare cropping property north of Mullewa, for $23 million, saying it plans to incorporate significant green energy generation alongside the existing agricultural business. 

Daisy Downs is expected to make up roughly a quarter of the land needed for BP to create 10 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity it will convert to hydrogen and ammonia for export from the WA government’s planned green energy hub at Oakajee.

The South West Interconnected System, the electricity grid powering communities from Geraldton, to Kalgoorlie and Albany, currently has a capacity of 3-4 gigawatts.

BP spokesman James Foley said the property would house wind and solar energy generation assets. 

“What we wanted to do here was really access one big tranche of land quickly to demonstrate that we are serious about developing this project,” he said.

“It also gives us some flexibility around what we can do on the land. Wind and solar will be the main aim [but] we may look at opportunities to turn it into hydrogen on the site.”

Hydrogen Fuel James Foley standing on the beach in Geraldton

BP’s James Foley says Daisy Downs makes up about a quarter of the land it requires.(ABC Midwest & Wheatbelt: Lucinda Jose)

In ‘synergy with farming’

The company is negotiating with landowners in the area to access an additional 73,000 hectares to expand its renewable generation infrastructure further.

“The beauty of it is that is can be done in synergy with farming,” Mr Foley said.

“It doesn’t stop you from grazing. What is does offer is another form of income to help drought-proof farms.

“The way that we will be essentially structuring these leases with farmers is a fixed payment year on year.”

Daisy Downs was purchased from Western Australian agrifood company PenAgri, which acquired the property, along with additional farmland, for $55 million in July 2022.

The property has been leased to a local farm business to continue cropping.

BP is one of six companies allocated land in the planned Mid West Hydrogen Hub located at Oakajee, 120 kilometres west of Daisy Downs.

Other proponents to secure a lease are Fortescue Future Industries, Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, Green LOHC, Kinara Power and Blue Diamond Australia.

Hydrogen Fuel Wind turbines on a hill in the United States

Wind turbines operate alongside farming at BP’s Cedar Creek II in Colorado, Unites States.(Supplied: BP)

Plans for green hydrogen plant

Further south and on the coast, WA-based company Infinite Green Energy has signed a memorandum of understanding with South Korean engineering company Samsung C&T to build a major green hydrogen plant.

The Arrowsmith Hydrogen Plant will be located 300km north of Perth and is forecast to produce up to 9 gigawatts or roughly 100,000 tonnes of green hydrogen per year.

Infinite Green Energy chief executive Stephen Gauld said the plant would produce a large amount of energy.

“It will power a large-scale power station for a year,” he said.

“[For] heavy haul trucks it would probably cover at least 700 road trains a day.”

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