The mighty vision of the Asian Renewable Energy Hub is set to expand by 3 GW, taking the project’s generation capacity from 6 GW to 9 GW, with the aim of supplying large energy users in the Pilbara. The addition complements and expands the jaw-dropping plan for the export of renewable energy from the Pilbara to South East Asia via subsea electrical cables.
The 9 GW of generation will comprise 6 GW of wind generation and 3 GW of solar PV generation, which will produce approximately 33 TWh of energy each year.
The new plan enables mine expansions, the addition of upscale value-added processing, and potentially also the production of hydrogen for domestic and export markets.
The consortium which involves CWP Energy Asia Renewables, Intercontinental Energy and wind turbine company Vestas is working with WA’s Pilbara Development Commission to ensure the AREH project delivers maximum economic benefit to the Pilbara.
Pilbara Development Commission Chairperson Brendan Hammond has welcomed the news that a domestic energy component has been added to the scope of the AREH project plan, saying “The Energy Hub project capitalises on the Pilbara’s natural wind and solar assets and is directly aligned with the region’s vision for diversified and sustainable economic development.”
“It is an exciting opportunity to boost the business competitiveness of the Pilbara by significantly lowering the cost of energy.
“Such an outcome will result in the extension of existing mineral and oil/gas reserves, bring new extractive opportunities into play, and allow a diversified downstream economy that is ultimately independent of natural resource exploitation to be built both regionally and state-wide. In addition to these commercial and economic benefits the positive environmental impact is expected to be very considerable and of national significance.”
AREH Project Director Alex Tancock explained with recent increases in wind turbine size and capacity, they had been able to add another 2 GW of wind turbines and 1 GW of solar arrays to the existing project site.
“The large scale of our project, together with excellent and complementary wind and solar resources, will allow us to generate clean electricity very cost competitively, day and night,” he said. “This will provide more options for domestic energy use as well as for export, both as electricity and potentially also as hydrogen.”
The AREH project continues to gather momentum, with the completion of onshore site ecology surveys, the completion of the nearshore seabed surveys for the subsea cable, the lodgement of environmental referrals to the WA and Commonwealth Governments and the opening of a consortium office in Jakarta.
The Environmental Impact Assessment for the project is expected to be submitted to the Western Australian Government in mid-2018. Financial Close for the project is anticipated in 2020/21, and construction is anticipated to commence in 2023.