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Norway has significant potential to lead the way for green hydrogen and green ammonia production, based on availability of renewable energy, proximity to the European market, and skilled workforce. In partnership with local Norwegian consultants, Fortescue has completed a Scoping Study to identify potential locations for production of green hydrogen and ammonia. Consideration has been given to a range of factors, such as existing grid and power capacity, proximity to existing infrastructure, land availability, water sources, topography, and the local environment and surrounding communities.
Through these investigations, and in consultation with the Bremanger Municipality, the Holmaneset project opportunity was identified.
The proposed Holmaneset Project seeks to utilise surplus renewable energy to power an integrated green hydrogen and green ammonia process plant, complete with transmission infrastructure and port facilities, for the transport of green products to the Norwegian and European markets. It is located on the coast of the Nordgulen fjord, approximately 8 kilometres west of Svelgen in the Bremanger Municipality in western Norway.
In March 2023, Fortescue entered into a long-term Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Statkraft. The Project is progressing through the Feasibility Phase with many activities currently being undertaken in parallel
to refine the Project layout with consideration of environmental, social and safety factors to determine potential impacts, and attain the necessary regulatory permits to progress.
The primary activities being undertaken at current is a planning process for the area and early engineering and design works, including geotechnical (e.g. rock fall and avalanche risks) and other ground investigations. These activities are further described below – Activities Underway. In undertaking these activities, Fortescue is in dialogue with relevant authorities and regulatory bodies on a local, regional and national level.
Hydrogen produced through electrolysis of water and powered by renewable energy is emission-free and referred to as green hydrogen. Electrolysis is achieved by passing electricity through demineralized water so that the water is split into green
hydrogen and oxygen. The oxygen produced is not toxic. It is completely odorless and tasteless – and can be used for other purposes (industry or other).
The hydrogen will then be converted into ammonia by combining nitrogen from the air with the green hydrogen to create green ammonia. This is done for easier and safer storage and transportation of the green energy. Ammonia has been produced, stored
and transported for hundreds of years by industry for use in agriculture as fertiliser, a refrigerant gas, for purification of water supplies and in the manufacture of plastics, textiles, dyes, and other chemicals.
Green Ammonia in a refrigerated state is planned to be transported to the Norwegian and European markets by ship to support the decarbonisation of hard to abate sectors such as heavy haulage, shipping, fertilizer and industry. Further information
on green hydrogen and ammonia production processes, manufacturing and safety is available below.
Additionally, production of ammonia and hydrogen creates oxygen and heat as by-products, which can be used in other industry, such as aquaculture, water treatment, metals refining and fabrication processes, and glass, ceramic and paper manufacturing. Where practical, waste heat from the process will be recovered and reused at the facility, and the Project will aim to develop other opportunities to support a green energy circular economy.
As mentioned above, there are a number of activities underway that are supporting the development of the Project design and the understanding of the potential positive and negative impacts. Key activities currently underway include:
These parallel activities are tightly intertwined with an iterative process occurring between the planning process and design of the Project – for example, where environmental sensitivities and concerns are identified in the Planning Process, efforts will be made through engineering to modify the design as needed to minimise negative or enhance positive impacts.
The Planning Process for the area zoning was initiated in February 2023 in cooperation with the Bremanger Municipality. The planning area covers 1349 daa. This includes the Holmaneset peninsula, and the three islands of Litleholmen, Meholmen and Storeholmen.
The Planning Process is carried out in accordance with the Planning and Building Act, and is, among other things, subject to requirements for:
The first step in the Planning Process is to develop a Planning Program that describes which topics and alternatives are to be investigated and examined before the preparation of a Planning Proposal. The Planning Program underwent a 6-week public consultation in May-June 2023. Feedback received from interested parties, including the local community and authorities, will be taken into consideration, and addressed prior to presenting the Planning Program to the municipality council for approval.
Once the Planning Program has been approved, the regulatory process leads to a Planning Proposal. During this phase a comprehensive assessment of environmental, societal and safety risks will be undertaken to inform the Planning Proposal and ensure decision-makers have the necessary information to decide on the rezoning of the area for industrial use. These studies and assessments are expected to take about one year.
The Planning Program is available in Project Document section below.
An impact assessment is an obligatory part of the Planning Proposal. This is a complete assessment of the Project’s impact on the environment and society. The impact assessment follows a methodology that assesses and analyses the value and
impact the Project has on natural diversity, water environment, landscape, outdoor life, cultural environment, society impacts, natural resources and pollution (noise, light, vibrations, air, water and ground) in accordance with the Norwegian
Environment Agency’s guide M-1941.
These investigations are based on existing knowledge from the area and are supplemented with field surveys and sampling. This information is then used to inform the Planning Proposal which is subject to public review prior to approval of the new area zoning.
In addition to complying with Norwegian regulations, Fortescue has expanded the spectrum of assessments to be undertaken to align with international standards that outline good practice for managing environmental and social impacts, including the International Finance Corporation’s Performance Standards, Equator Principals and Green Hydrogen standard.
The health and safety of our people, including contractors and suppliers, and the communities in which we operate are Fortescue's highest priority. Fortescue is in dialogue with DSB and will undertake a number of safety assessments as the Project
progresses. These will be undertaken by an independent, reputable company in accordance with EU and Norwegian regulations.
The safety assessments will seek to identify hazards relating to project processes, such as storage units, operation procedures and safety elements, including shutdown procedures, to define potential safety concerns This will then be used to develop gas dispersion models with consideration of external factors, such weather conditions, to assess potential safety risk to workers and surrounding communities. These studies will be undertaken over longer periods of time.
These risk and safety assessments will be undertaken in parallel with the risk and vulnerability assessment, which is part of the Planning Process. The risk and vulnerability assessment provides a systematic approach to identifying and evaluating
potential threats and impacts the Project may cause to the area. The assessment methodology is described in the DSB’s guide – ‘Social security in the municipality’s spatial planning.’
Documentation of the methodology and findings in the risk assessment will be shared with relevant authorities, and the findings captured in the Planning Process. In the end, it is the DSB, under the Fire and Explosion Prevention Act, that is the responsible national authority for granting permission, firstly to start construction, and finally for permission to operate a hydrogen and ammonia facility at Holmaneset.
Green industry development is a priority for Norway and Europe. The Norwegian Government’s Hydrogen Strategy (2020) emphasizes both the national and international importance for the kind of production that is planned at Holmaneset. The production
of green hydrogen will contribute to the path to a low-emission society, and it is also a step in the right direction to reduce greenhouse gas emissions globally.
The McKinsey report “Norway Tomorrow” points out that Norway has a competitive advantage for the production of blue and green hydrogen with the potential to create 36,000 new jobs and contribute to a value creation of NOK 71 billion
until 2030. A successful national strategy for hydrogen production could contribute to an emissions reduction of 22 million tonnes of Co2 in Norway and Europe.
Fortescue recognises the significant potential for Norway to lead the way for green hydrogen and green ammonia production based on availability of renewable energy, proximity to the European market, and skilled workforce. Through the Holmaneset
Project we hope to develop a local, regional and national value chain for green industry that contributes to increased employment, business and training opportunities – with a focus on the Bremanger Municipality and the region.
To support this development, Fortescue has prepared a Local Content Plan in consultation with local and regional government bodies, business associations and educational institutions. We recognise the need to commence this early to give individuals
and businesses the time to prepare in order to maximise the benefits of such an opportunity. The aim of this Plan is to ensure we maximise opportunities for local training, recruitment and provision of goods and services, by ensuring clear
channels of communication.
Fortescue aims to build a long-term presence in Svelgen and the region and wants to be a positive contributor to the local community. Updates on the project plans will be published on the website on an ongoing basis but if you have any specific questions, please contact us.
For further information on the Holmaneset Project, please contact us at Norway@Fortescue.com