Fortescue Breaks Ground on Major ‘Green’ Hydrogen Facility in Buckeye, Arizona, Creating Jobs and Economic Impact

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Australia’s Fortescue (ASX: FMG) has begun building its first “green” hydrogen facility in Buckeye, Arizona, capable of producing more than 11,000 tons of liquid hydrogen annually. Fortescue Future Industries said it started moving dirt on the project known as Arizona Hydrogen on 158 acres in the southern part of the city, just west of State Route 85.

Fortescue constructs the ‘green’ hydrogen facility in Buckeye, Arizona as part of its $550 million commitment to developing an electrolyzer and liquefaction facility in Phoenix.

The world’s fourth-largest iron ore maker, the Australian mining giant Fortescue, is charting an ambitious new course into the realm of renewable resources through its trailblazing Fortescue Energy unit. In a bold move that underscores its commitment to sustainable energy solutions, the company has announced that its cutting-edge facility in Arizona will unleash a wave of employment opportunities in the region. During the construction phase alone, this groundbreaking project is poised to generate a staggering 2,000 jobs, injecting a much-needed economic boost into the local community. But the benefits don’t stop there – once operational, the facility will sustain over 400 permanent positions, offering long-term career prospects for skilled professionals in the burgeoning green energy sector.

On May 2nd, at the ceremonial groundbreaking event, Andrew Forrest, the visionary founder and executive chair of Fortescue, commended the Biden Administration’s steadfast dedication to promoting renewable energy initiatives. However, Forrest also acknowledged that the journey towards a more sustainable future is far from over, emphasizing the need for continued efforts and unwavering commitment from all stakeholders.

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“The US 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 in a statement. “Fortescue is unashamedly a first-mover in this space, the world needs us to move quickly.”

“But, we need to be encouraged to that, not punished. 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.”

Forrest was referring to the proposed Clean Hydrogen Production Tax Credit, or section 45V of the US Inflation Reduction Act, which sets requirements for how hydrogen producers must qualify to receive the credit.

The draft rules propose limiting hydrogen producers’ ability to provide project-specific information, such as upstream emissions data, when calculating the carbon intensity of their hydrogen. Instead, the rules will require using a national average for all producers, rather than allowing them to use their actual upstream emissions data.

Fortescue will begin hydrogen production at the Buckeye facility by mid-2026, according to the company.

“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,” Forrest said.

Fortescue’s green hydrogen facility in Buckeye, Arizona strategically positions the project in the Southwest U.S., which consumes more than 5 billion gallons of diesel fuel annually, intending to reduce emissions and meet growing demand for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

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Economic Impact of Fortescue’s green hydrogen facility in Buckeye

The Arizona Commerce Authority anticipates the project will generate $9.1 million in annual income and sales tax for state and local governments as well as add $59.2 million to Arizona’s GDP.

“Arizona Hydrogen strengthens Arizona’s position as a national sustainability leader at the forefront of clean energy technologies and innovation,” Sandra Watson, president and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority, said in a statement. “We are grateful to Dr. Forrest and the entire Fortescue team for their commitment to Arizona, and we look forward to supporting Fortescue’s long-term success in Buckeye.”

In addition to the Buckeye facility, Fortescue invests $35 million to acquire a factory in Detroit, where it will establish an advanced manufacturing center for batteries and electrolyzers. It also plans to establish a 300 megawatt green hydrogen production facility in Centralia, Washington, according to the company.

Read also: Morocco recently announced a plan to set aside an area of land for green hydrogen projects