By Sonali Paul

MELBOURNE, June 17 (Reuters) – Interest in using hydrogen in gas-fired power plants is growing in Australia, where one project last month got the go-ahead, which could drive early demand for green hydrogen, General Electric Co executives said.

GE in May won a contract to supply a turbine for a A$300 million ($229 million) expansion of a gas-fired plant owned by Australia’s third-largest power retailer EnergyAustralia, which will be the country’s first commercial power plant able to use both gas and hydrogen.

“What we’re effectively doing through this project is kicking off the hydrogen economy in Australia,” GE’s Australia head, Sam Maresh, told Reuters in an interview.

“There’s a lot of talk about hydrogen. But here the rubber hits the road with this project.”

A bigger project, a A$1 billion gas-fired plant planned by mining magnate Andrew Forrest, is also looking to be able to run on hydrogen, but has yet to reach a…

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