Australia backs 26GW wind and solar-powered green hydrogen hub

The Australian government has agreed to ease the permitting processes and aid investment of a 26GW wind and solar-powered hydrogen and ammonia complex in Western Australia

The Asian Renewable Energy Hub would be built in the desert region of Pilbara, Western Australia (pic: Renata Wright/Pixabay)

The Australian government has fast-tracked the world’s largest green hydrogen and ammonia production facility – a 26GW wind and solar complex powering electrolysers.

Granting the complex 'major project status' it will  smooth the regulatory process by helping with permitting and enabling foreign lenders to invest in the 26GW Asian Renewable Energy Hub in Western Australia.

The Macquarie-backed project would use 16GW of wind power capacity and 10GW of solar PV capacity to power electrolysers and produce green hydrogen and ammonia for export to global markets.

The developers — a consortium of Hong Kong-based developer Intercontinental Energy, Australian counterpart CWP Renewables, Pathway Investments and Vestas — recently received the green light for construction of the first 15GW of the project, by securing environmental approval from the state government.

They now need state and commonwealth environmental approvals for an 11GW expansion to proceed with construction of the entire complex.

However, the state approval and federal help enables them to draw up detailed designs for the 6,500km2 site and carry out the next stage of discussions with offtakers and investors.

The developers hope to use renewable energy output to power electrolysers and produce green hydrogen and ammonia for export to global markets.

This zero-emissions power will have the potential to play a significant role in reducing carbon emissions in hard-to-abate sectors such as transport, shipping and steel production.

At least 3GW of generation capacity would supply output to the local Western Australia grid, while up to 23GW would be used to produce green hydrogen and ammonia.

The developers anticipate the project could generate up to 100TWh annually.

They plan to make a final investment decision on the US$36 billion project by 2025, start construction by 2026 and export first power by 2027 or 2028.