CWP Global and InterContinental Energy, two of the main proponents behind the recently rejected Asia Renewable Energy Hub, have announced a proposal for a new, even more ambitious project in the Goldfields–Esperance region, in the southeastern part of Western Australia.
The proposed Western Green Energy Hub plan is designed to scale to a massive 50 GW of solar and wind. The electricity would be used to produce millions of tons of green hydrogen or its derivative, green ammonia. Project costs have been estimated at AUD 100 billion ($74.9 billion), with the infrastructure to be built across 15,000 square kilometers in the Shire of Dundas and the city of Kalgoorlie-Boulder.
Western Australian Minister for Hydrogen Industry Alannah MacTiernan said she “welcomed the announcement” and confirmed that the project’s proponents have secured a licence to collect data in support of feasibility studies. The proposal comes less than a month after Australia’s federal environment minister, Sussan Ley, rejected environmental approvals for the 26 GW Asia Renewable Energy Hub, which was proposed by a consortium that included CWP Global and InterContinental Energy. When it was revealed in June, Ley’s decision triggered controversy, but the consortium has said it will work to amend its plans so the project can still go ahead.
The chairman of the Western Green Energy Hub’s (WGEH) board, Brendan Hammond, has described the project as “historic” in terms of its scale and its partnership with First Nations Land Owners. According to the project group’s statement, Mirning Green Energy Ltd. – a wholly owned subsidiary of Mirning Traditional Lands Aboriginal Corp. – will have a “meaningful carried equity stake” in the project and a permanent seat on the project’s consortium board.
The project has been proposed for the state's Goldfields-Esperance region. “The region provides an optimal diurnal profile for renewable energy, with consistently high levels of wind and solar energy over a 24-hour period,” the group said.
The consortium plans to build the project in phases, eventually scaling up to produce 3.5 million tons of zero-carbon green hydrogen or 20 million tons of green ammonia per year, for domestic use and for export.
“Green fuels produced at the site will meet massive future demand from multiple sectors, including in co-firing in power generation, the shipping sector, heavy industry such as steel, chemicals and mining, as well as the aviation sector,” the group added.
MacTiernan said the proposed Western Green Energy Hub would be one of the world’s largest renewable energy projects. “Importantly, this project is a powerful collaboration between the Mirning traditional owners and industry, and would be a transformational opportunity for the community,” she said.
MacTiernan has previously said that the state government wants to have 200 GW of renewables to produce green hydrogen by 2040.