In May 2021, Woodside Energy revealed plans to build a utility-scale solar PV facility near Karratha, in the northwestern part of Western Australia, to help power its Pluto LNG export facility.
In documents published by Western Australia’s Environmental Protection Authority (WAEPA) this week, it can be confirmed that Woodside Energy aims to build a 500MW (AC) solar PV facility, including battery energy storage infrastructure capable of storing up to 400MWh per year.
“Woodside Energy proposes to construct and operate the Woodside Solar Facility in the Maitland Strategic Industrial Area, located approximately 15 kilometers southwest of Karratha, in the Pilbara region of Western Australia,” says the proposal.
The facility would cover approximately 975.6 hectares within a development envelope of 1,100.3 hectares. According to the proposal, the solar facility will see the installation of approximately 1 million solar panels, along with supporting infrastructure such as a battery energy storage system and an electrical substation.
Woodside Energy says all transmission of power from the solar facility to customers “would be delivered via the North West Interconnected System (NWIS), through existing, upgraded, or new infrastructure constructed, owned and operated by Horizon Power for all users of the NWIS.”
Construction of the solar facility would progress in 100MW phases, with each expected to take six to nine months. And while each constructed phase would result in CO2 emissions in the realm of 212 kilotons, the resulting green energy in the NWIS could “reduce customer electricity emissions by approximately 100 kilotons of CO2 per annum.” Those customers would be industrial customers.
According to the The Sydney Morning Herald, the Burrup Peninsula is home to more than 1 million images carved into rocks over a period of up to 50,000 years. The area has been nominated for a World Heritage listing, due to concerns that industrial pollutants may be damaging for the art. Those industrial activities include Woodside’s North West Shelf and Pluto LNG plants, Yara’s ammonia and explosives plants, and the Dampier Port Rio Tinto uses to export its iron ore.
The WAEPA will now review the referral. The seven-day public comment period opened on Jan. 10, with Woodside Energy hoping to commence construction later this year.
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