Asian Renewable Energy Hub (AREH) project, developed by CWP Renewables, Intercontinental Energy, Vestas and Macquarie Group, which envisages the construction of 26GW from solar and wind farms to produce green hydrogen, got a boost by winning major project status from the Australian government, the Financial Times (FT) reported on Monday.
This ambitious $36 billion project envisages the construction of the world’s largest solar and wind farm on a 6,500 square kilometres site in the Pilbara, a region in Western Australia known as a source of liquefied natural gas.
The AREH project will be built in several stages and within five years will have 1,600 wind turbines and 78 square kilometres of solar panels to create the largest power station on earth.
“This project has the potential to help lower global emissions while building a new Australian industry that creates jobs and opportunities in regional Australia,” Energy Minister Angus Taylor said in a statement. It is expected to generate about 20,000 direct and indirect jobs over its 10-year construction phase, the government said, as quoted by the Bloomberg news agency.
Angus Taylor, Australia’s energy minister, told FT the Asian Renewables Energy Hub would build on Australia’s strengths as an energy exporter while cutting emissions. “Projects like the Asian Renewable Energy Hub will help us achieve our ‘H2 under $2’ (per kilogram) goal and position Australia as a world leader in clean hydrogen,” Taylor said.
Green hydrogen is made using electricity from renewable energy to electrolyse water, separating the hydrogen and oxygen atoms. It produces no greenhouse gas emissions when it is burnt as a fuel and can be converted into ammonia for easy storage and shipping.
Until recently hydrogen has struggled to compete with fossil fuels due to the high cost of making it either by utilising renewable energy and electrolysis or by burning fossil fuels and capturing and storing the emissions produced. But cheaper renewable energy has prompted a surge in interest in developing hydrogen, which can be used in fuel cells or combustion engines to power cars, ships and even spacecraft.
“The falling costs of wind and solar power, our carefully selected locations, and the vast scale of the facility we are building, all mean it’s inevitable that we will be able to produce green fuels that are cost-competitive with fossil fuels,” Alex Hewitt, founder of CWP Renewables, told Reuters news agency.
Japan’s JERA has said it wants to use ammonia in its coal-fired plants to help cut carbon emissions starting in 2030 and mix in hydrogen at its gas-fired power plants.
AREH last week received environmental approval from the West Australian government for the first stage of the project, comprising 10 GW of wind capacity and 5 GW of solar.
Besides AREH project in Australia, CWP Renewables is in the process of developing large scale green hydrogen projects in Africa and Latin America.
CWP Renewables is well known in our region for the development of one of the largest on-shore wind farms in Europe (600MW Fantanele project, Romania) and 158MW Cibuk project in Serbia.
Today, CWP Renewables is building a 1GW portfolio of wind and solar projects in Serbia.
Project Vetrozelena, which is under development in the municipality of Pancevo, is expected to be operational by the end of 2024. Once finalized, with its capacity of 300MW, Vetrozelena will be the largest wind farm in the country.