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Rio Negro green hydrogen project on track, says Governor Carreras

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    The governor of Río Negro, Arabela Carreras, stated today that the investment of the Australian company Fortescue to produce green hydrogen in that province is already "underway", after the project was unanimously approved by the Legislature last month. "As it is such a large investment, it is being developed in stages. The company has already started to invest around US$ 80 million in wind measurements because it is necessary to determine the best locations to place the wind turbines", said Carreras in an interview with Radio 10. He also indicated that "two small companies from Río Negro" are already working on the project, which "are getting stronger to respond to the demand" of Fortescue. Regarding the importance of the project, the provincial president valued that it is "a new industry that will allow the country to diversify its economic matrix" and will also allow "the development of towns, cities and provinces", since the sector "sees Patagonia and Argentina as a great opportunity". "We have a great opportunity in the development of the country from alternative energies because the world is turning to an energy transition to replace everything that produces global warming," stressed Carreras. The governor also highlighted the "joint work" carried out with the national government and the precedent set by Río Negro "for similar projects in other provinces". We are fulfilling the stages foreseen in our strategic plan and, in addition, we are showing a path for other provinces that have projects, accompanying us and debating transversally an energy policy for the country", she said. The hydrogen -gas that can be used to produce electricity and as fuel for engines-, will be extracted from water molecules coming from the sea, and not from fresh water sources, which, for Carreras, shows that "the project is virtuous in all senses" and that "the whole production process and its use is not polluting". "We are planning large-scale production not only for the internal consumption of our country and to decarbonize our economy, but also to export and thus obtain genuine resources for our country and our province", detailed the governor, who estimated that "around 40,000 direct and indirect jobs" will be generated. In this context, Carreras pointed out that "we are working on a training plan for workers together with the National Ministry of Labor so that people can have access to these jobs and do not miss this opportunity". Fortescue's investment in Sierra Grande totals US$ 8,400 million and was announced last November by President Alberto Fernandez and executives of the company during the COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow, Scotland. After that, last April the Legislature of Río Negro approved the project and allowed the province to call for a public tender to concession the use of 625,000 hectares for the construction of the project to Fortescue. The project foresees a production capacity of 2.2 million tons per year, which would cover an energy production equivalent to 10% of the electricity consumed by Germany in one year. Once the quantity and quality of wind required for energy generation have been analyzed, the company will proceed with the pilot stage, which will start this year and end in 2024, which, with an investment of US$ 1.2 billion, will produce 35,000 tons of green hydrogen, and then proceed with two other stages starting in 2024. In the last months, green hydrogen projects were also announced in the Puna Jujuy and Tierra del Fuego, where the company MMEX Resources will invest US$ 500 million to produce 55 tons per day. (Télam)


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