15GW hybrid renewables project in Pilbara WA

Plans to build a huge hybrid renewables project in Western Australia’s Pilbara region have grown even bigger, with a new target of 15GW of wind and solar laid down by developers.

The Asia Renewable Energy Hub project, backed by CWP Renewables, Macquarie Group, and wind turbine manufacturer Vestas, had originally aimed for 9GW, and then 11GW late last year, amid plans to export “green” hydrogen.

The new goal of 15MW wind and solar represents some $30 billion in investment and the potential to generate some 50 terrawatt hours of electricity a year, based on further studies into the resource, and how the site can be optimised.

“We can produce more green hydrogen with more electricity, for local and export markets,” said  CWP Renewables development manager Andrew Dickson. “We believe the market for green hydrogen will grow very large over time, and we’re ideally placed to deliver to that market”

Plans are for the AREH consortium to reach financial close in 2023, and to deliver the project in phases over 10 years, dependent on securing off-takes for either green electricity and/or green hydrogen.

The International Energy Agency presented a hydrogen road map report to a G20 meeting last week, and cited the Pilbara project.

“In areas where both resources are excellent, combining solar PV and onshore wind in a hybrid plant has the potential to lower costs further,” the IEA said.