Hydropower is a source of renewable energy where electricity is generated by harnessing the natural power of water.
Hydropower has been used for thousands of years in watermills to produce flour, timber, paper, textiles and many metal products. Today, the most common application of hydropower is hydroelectricity, which generates about 15 per cent of global electricity.
At Fortescue we aim to develop hydropower resources to support the establishment of green energy and green product industries around the world.
We can drive these industries, powering the economy and help create jobs as we transition away from fossil fuels. We know there will be many key markets for green hydrogen in the coming decade and by building on our existing supply chain capabilities and market access, we see an exciting opportunity for us to be at the forefront of the development of an export market for green hydrogen.
To produce electricity from hydropower, either the potential energy of water or kinetic energy of moving water is converted into electrical energy. Water, usually from a reservoir or pondage, passes through turbine blades, driving a generator to convert motion into electrical energy.
The volume of water and change in elevation from one point to another determines the amount of available energy – the greater the water flow and the greater the elevation drop, the more electricity is generated.
This electrical energy is transferred to a transformer and substation where its voltage is increased, allowing it to be sent via transmission to power the processes behind green hydrogen and green ammonia production.
Fortescue’s hydropower energy infrastructure will follow the principal of inherently safe design; ensuring hazards are eliminated wherever possible, reduced through substitution or controlled through engineering solutions. Hydropower not only provides clean, renewable generation but the assets can provide multipurpose benefits, namely regulation for irrigation and water supply as well as flood mitigation.
Many hydropower resources that were previously uneconomic are now being re-evaluated for hydrogen production, which is the demand centre that has been missing. The high-capacity factor afforded by hydropower enables smaller but highly productive hydrogen plants.