bp increases stake in 26 GW Australian renewable energy hub

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From pv magazine Australia

Macquarie Group announced it has completed the sale of its 15% share in the estimated AUD55 billion ($36.4 billion) Australian Renewable Energy Hub (AREH) to Uk-based oil and energy company bp which has boosted its stake in the solar, wind and green hydrogen project planned for Western Australia’s north coast to 64%.

Robert Dunlop, head of Macquarie’s global resources team, confirmed the transaction on social media.

“After five productive years as an active shareholder, we are pleased to have completed the sale of our 15% interest to bp, who will continue to drive this project forward,” he said.

The sale gives bp a 64% share in the project after its initial acquisition of a 40.5% stake in 2022, which was later increased to almost 49% through share purchases from project founders InterContinental Energy and CWP Global.

Hong Kong-based green hydrogen developer InterContinental Energy and Australia-based CWP Global retain a 26% and 10% stake, respectively, in the project.

The AREH project proposes the deployment of a combined 26 GW of solar and wind near Port Hedland in WA’s northwest to power an estimated 14 GW of electrolyzers, producing 1.6 million tonnes of renewable hydrogen or nine million tonnes of green ammonia annually for the local and export markets. The developers have also allocated at least 3 GW of generation capacity for Pilbara energy users themselves.

AREH has been in the planning stages since 2014 and was first announced in 2017 as the 6 GW Asian Renewable Energy Hub. It has continued to grow in scope since then and has secured state and federal government support, although it has faced some hurdles.

Despite the setbacks, bp has said it has made significant progress since taking control and is continuing to develop the project.

The company has previously indicated it is working towards a final investment decision on the multi-stage project in 2025 with the aim to start producing power at AREH by 2029, when the first phase of 4 GW of renewable power will get online. The two other stages of the project would be developed over the next decade.

The project is part of bp’s push away from fossil fuels to clean energy. In its 2023 strategy update, bp detailed plans to invest up to $98 billion in renewables, hydrogen, biofuels, and electric mobility by 2030 as part of its ambition to become a net zero company by 2050 or sooner.

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