Macquarie invests in 11GW renewables hub

AUSTRALIA: Macquarie will provide development capital for a proposed 11GW-plus wind and solar power hub in Western Australia.

The Pilbara region in Western Australia (pic: Renata Wright/Pixabay)
The Pilbara region in Western Australia (pic: Renata Wright/Pixabay)

The Asian Renewable Energy Hub (AREH) will consist of more than 7.5GW of wind turbines and a 3.5GW-plus solar PV array, its development consortium stated.

It is being developed by large-scale renewable and long-distance transmission developer Intercontinental Energy, turbine manufacturer Vestas and renewables developer CWP Energy Asia.

Total capital investment in the hub is expected to be more than A$22 billion ($15.5 billion). The value of Macquarie’s investment is unclear.

The AREH was initially proposed as a 6GW hub in November 2017. Following increases in wind turbine size and capacity ratings, its planned capacity was increased to 9GW in May 2018 with the additional 3GW being proposed for "large energy users".

The latest increase — from 9GW to more than 11GW — will allow more than half of the hub’s output to be allocated for mines, mineral processing and an anticipated large-scale hydrogen production in the Pilbara region in the north of Western Australia, the developer explained.

Power would be transmitted to Indonesia and Singapore via subsea high-voltage direct current (HVDC) power cables and to Pilbara, Australia, through HVDC or high-voltage alternating current (HVAC) lines.

The Government of Western Australia’s Environmental Protection Authority approved an environmental scoping document for the project in August 2018.

Macquarie has invested more than A$20 billion in renewable energy since 2010, it claimed, and operates or manages more than 12.5GW of clean energy projects globally.

With Macquarie’s investment, the AREH development consortium now expects to reach financial close on the project in 2021.

It plans to submit an environmental impact assessment for the energy hub in 2018, it added. Construction is anticipated to start in 2023 and will take place in phases over a six-to-seven-year period.

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