The world’s biggest renewable energy hub – comprising an astonishing 50 gigawatts of wind and solar capacity – has been proposed for the southern coast of Western Australia to create millions of tonnes of green hydrogen for use in Australia and for export.
The scale of the $100 billion project – to be known as the Western Green Energy Hub – is unprecedented. It would rank as one of Australia’s biggest ever projects of any kind, and not far short of the size of the country’s main grid.
The chief proponents are Australia’s CWP Global and Hong Kong-based Intercontinental Energy, the same parties behind the 26GW Asia Renewable Energy Hub in the Pilbara, which last month had initial environmental approvals rejected by federal environment minister Sussan Ley.
The Western Green Energy Hub would stretch over 15,000 square kilometres from near the South Australia border out west across the Nullabor towards the mining towns of Kalgoorlie and Boulder and the coastal town of Esperance. It would would produce up to 3.5 million tonnes of green hydrogen or 20 million tonnes of green ammonia annually.
Mirning Green Energy, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Mirning Traditional Lands Aboriginal Corp, will have a “meaningful carried equity stake” in the project, and a permanent seat on the WGEH consortium board.
“The Western Green Energy Hub is historic on two fronts,” Brendan Hammond, the chairman of the WGEH board, said in a statement on Tuesday.
“First, the scale at which we will be able to deliver green fuels to markets and customers around the world, helping to move us all towards a net-zero future.
“Second, and possibly more importantly, the way in which we are working with the Mirning People, the original owners of the land, to create a truly long-term and sustainable multi-generational partnership that delivers enormous socio-economic benefits for the community. It is an honour and a privilege to be involved in this groundbreaking project.”
“It’s a truly massive proposal,” said Western Australia’s hydrogen minister Alannah MacTiernan, who earlier this year announced her ambition to see 100GW of green hydrogen projects in the state as the world prepared for a big switch from fossil fuel gas to green hydrogen and ammonia.