Fortescue Future Industries (FFI), an Australian green hydrogen developer, is poised to make substantial investments in various regions, including Africa, Australia, Europe, and Latin America. With the aim of building renewable hydrogen projects, FFI Chairman, Andrew Forrest, identifies the United States as an exceptionally attractive destination for their ventures. The US boasts an advantageous policy landscape, offering green hydrogen producers up to €3/kg in tax credits through the groundbreaking Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).
The allure of the US incentivizes FFI to responsibly channel billions of dollars, potentially even tens of billions, into the country. Forrest, during a live interview at the FT Hydrogen Summit in London, underscores the company’s commitment to contributing significant investments to the United States. Simultaneously, he expresses enthusiasm for future opportunities in Africa, Europe, and Latin America.
Forrest acknowledges the immense potential of Africa and Australia as hotspots for new energy development. He also recognizes noteworthy progress across select regions in Europe. However, he confidently asserts that nowhere in the world compares to North America, particularly the United States, when it comes to the prospects of Fortescue’s ambitious green hydrogen projects.
FFI aims to finalize investment decisions on five crucial projects this year, spanning Australia, the US, Kenya, Brazil, and Norway. With a substantial cash reserve of around $1 billion generated from the profits of its parent company, Fortescue Metals Group, FFI is well-positioned for growth. Forrest has been actively engaging with international governments, including officials in China and US President Joe Biden, to foster favorable policy conditions for FFI’s expansions.
FFI faces certain challenges, such as securing improved access to foreign currency in Argentina for their colossal Pampas project in Patagonia. Through persistent lobbying efforts, Forrest aims to facilitate the project’s progression by garnering the necessary support from the Argentine government.
The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) garners significant appeal due to its simplicity, setting it apart from more intricate European Union measures. Forrest compares the latter to “reading porridge,” emphasizing the advantages offered by the IRA.
During the interview, Forrest candidly critiques the perceived sluggishness of the UK government’s efforts in advancing a hydrogen economy, characterizing their actions as “sleepwalking.” He also voices skepticism toward blue hydrogen produced from fossil gas with carbon capture and storage, a technology championed by the UK. Forrest firmly believes that carbon sequestration technologies are ineffective, dismissing them as the “newest story for the next old sucker” that perpetuates past disappointments.
As FFI forges ahead with their global expansion and investments in green hydrogen projects, the company remains steadfast in its mission to accelerate the transition to a carbon-neutral world. Despite certain challenges and critical viewpoints, FFI’s unwavering focus on renewable hydrogen marks an exciting leap forward in the pursuit of sustainable energy solutions.
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