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Saudi Arabia to export renewable energy using green ammonia

Last week, Air Products, ACWA Power, and NEOM announced a $5 billion, 4 gigawatt green ammonia plant in Saudi Arabia, to be operational by 2025. Air Products, the exclusive off-taker, intends to distribute the green ammonia globally and crack it back to “carbon-free hydrogen” at the point of use, supplying hydrogen refueling stations. According to Air Products’ presentation on the project, “our focus is fueling hydrogen fuel cell buses and trucks.” This will be one of the first projects to be built in the industrial hub of NEOM, a futuristic “model for sustainable living.” NEOM is a key element in Vision 2030, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s plan to diversify the Saudi Arabian economy and reduce dependence on oil revenues. In other words, Saudi Arabia is establishing itself as “a global leader in green hydrogen production and green fuels.”

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Flattening the climate risks curve

The COVID-19 pandemic is a human tragedy of epic proportions. It directly affects the life and livelihoods of people all around the world as an unprecedented healthcare and economic crisis. It is clear by now that COVID-19 marks an inflection point or “black swan” event in history that will have a shaping influence on society and the economy for many years to come; a post COVID-19 era will begin. In the same way that the developing renewable energy industry significantly benefited from the economic stimulus packages to address the financial crisis of 2008/2009, we now have the opportunity to kick-start the next important phase of global CO2 emissions reduction through support of the developing CO2 Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS) & Clean Hydrogen Economy. Many of these clean technologies have been proven at industrial scale and implementation has started. Still, commercial projects will continue to need financial incentives for broad deployment that will enable accelerated technology maturation and reductions in project risk and cost. With the support from COVID-19 stimulus packages, the private sector will be able to execute CCUS & Clean Hydrogen projects in the near-term, secure and create jobs, grow the economy and mitigate the risk of “green swan” climate change events through significant CO2 emissions reduction.

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Green Financing Sighted in Australia’s Ammonia Industry

Last month the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) announced that it has “signed an AUD $400 million [USD $256 million] three-year bilateral sustainability-linked loan” with Australian conglomerate Wesfarmers. This represents at least the second occasion on which an ammonia producer has linked its cost of capital to progress in meeting sustainability goals. In July 2019, Yara announced that it had signed a USD $1.1 billion revolving credit facility with a group of 13 lenders whose margin “will be adjusted based on Yara’s progress to meet its carbon intensity target by 2025.”