Fortescue aims to boost U.S. green energy production with new hydrogen facility in Buckeye

Fortescue, a global leader in green energy, recently announced the official launch of its first U.S. green hydrogen production facility, Arizona Hydrogen, in Buckeye, Arizona.

Fortescue Executive Chair and Founder Dr. Andrew Forrest AO, along with state, local, and tribal leaders, were on-site recently to celebrate the significant milestone, which included a soil turn ceremony and renaming of the facility.

In his remarks, Forrest commended the Biden administration’s efforts in promoting the energy transition but highlighted the need for supportive policies to accelerate progress in green energy initiatives.

“The U.S. has made serious strides in attracting global investment in green hydrogen and decarbonization projects, like Fortescue’s solar and wind-powered Arizona Hydrogen facility,” Forrest said. “Fortescue is unashamedly a first-mover in this space; the world needs us to move quickly.”

Potential speedbumps

But Forrest also expressed concerns about potential regulations that could hinder the industry’s growth and limit economic opportunities. He urged for policies that encourage rather than restrict progress in sustainable energy production.

“There are rules right now under consideration with the Biden Administration that would make already announced projects like this one dramatically more expensive and smaller, resulting in fewer economic opportunities and slower progress on decarbonization,” he said. “I support the Biden administration’s goal to produce hydrogen in a way that prioritizes sustainability, however 45V, in its current form, is a straitjacket on the industry and works against the Biden Administration’s own climate goals.” 

45V is a tax credit created in 2022 following the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) that incentivizes the production of hydrogen by reducing the tax burden on eligible producers. 

Good news for jobs

According to economic projections from NDP Analytics, the Arizona Hydrogen facility is expected to create significant employment opportunities and economic benefits for the region. 

During its construction phase, the facility could generate up to 2,244 jobs, with potential earnings of $124.2 million in wages. It is anticipated to contribute $187.8 million to Arizona’s GDP and generate $31.7 million in income and sales taxes for state and local governments.

Once operational, Arizona Hydrogen will sustain 40 high-paying jobs directly, with a potential total of 431 direct, indirect, and induced jobs, contributing $29.3 million in wages. The facility is projected to add $59.2 million to Arizona’s GDP annually, along with $9.1 million in income and sales taxes for state and local governments.

Shrinking transportation’s carbon footprint

Arizona Hydrogen’s strategic focus on green hydrogen production aligns with efforts to decarbonize the heavy-duty transportation sector. The facility aims to produce up to 11,000 tons of liquid green hydrogen annually, making significant strides in reducing emissions in the mobility sector.

Governor Stephen Roe Lewis of the Gila River Indian Community and Buckeye Mayor Eric Orsborn expressed enthusiasm for the project’s potential impact on sustainability and economic growth in Arizona.

“In recognizing and honoring the traditional lands of the Akimel O’otham and Pee Posh people, we have a profound connection and shared responsibility as stewards of the earth. Companies like Fortescue are helping to pave the way for a more sustainable and equitable future for our generations to come,” Lewis said.

“Buckeye is happy to welcome Arizona Hydrogen to the Sustainable Valley. Fortescue’s investment in our community helps Buckeye, and the entire state of Arizona, continue to grow efficiently and sustainably for generations to come,” Orsborn said.

Sandra Watson, president and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority, echoed these sentiments, highlighting Arizona Hydrogen’s role in strengthening Arizona’s position as a national leader in sustainability and clean energy technologies

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