KEPCO’s open-cut coal mine proposal for the NSW Bylong Valley was knocked back three times, but to the surprise of local farmers, it is now exploring a hydrogen opportunity.
- KEPCO is considering building a hydrogen project in the Bylong Valley
- An open-cut coal mine was rejected three times
- An analyst says a blue hydrogen project would be the most likely option
The company, which is majority-owned by the South Korean government, proposed to develop an open-cut coal mine in the Valley.
A company spokesperson said “KEPCO is considering various post-appeal options including a possible hydrogen opportunity at Bylong”.
“We are unable to provide any further comments at this stage.”
Local farmer and president of the Bylong Valley Projection Alliance Phillip Kennedy said he was “shocked” at the proposal.
“It has got some of the best soils in NSW and Australia, it’s in the top three per cent,” he said.
Blue hydrogen likely, analyst says
KEPCO holds a coal exploration license over 6,685 hectares of land in the valley.
Analyst with the progressive think-tank the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis Bruce Robertson said given the region’s remoteness, blue hydrogen would be the most likely option.
“There’s really no reason to put a hydrogen plant in the Bylong Valley, it’s a long way from electricity and gas services unless they produce the gas there themselves,” he said.
Mr Robertson said making blue hydrogen is more emissions-intensive than gas.
“Gas is already a highly-polluting fuel and then you’re adding another step in the production process.”
Local farmer staunchly opposed
Bylong Valley Protection Alliance president Phillip Kennedy said the valley was not “the right place” for gas drilling.
“They’ve got a lot of investment here in the Bylong Valley over the last 10 years in the community, so they may find it hard to talk away from it.”
He said the possibility of jobs and investment would not justify the project.
“I’ve got enough work to do, I don’t need another job.”
Posted , updated