- bp has completed its acquisition of 26 GW AREH project which has now been renamed Australian Renewable Energy Hub
- It now officially owns 40.5% stake in the facility, with remaining held by InterContinental Energy, CWP Global and Macquarie
- Another massive solar power project in Australia, Sun Cable’s 20 GW AAPowerLink is now open for consultation for environmental clearance
Global oil and gas major bp plc has officially become the operator of 26 GW Pilbara located renewable energy facility Australian Renewable Energy Hub (AREH) after completing 40.5% acquisition, and another massive Australian solar project with 20 GW capacity is now seeking environmental approval.
Remaining project partners InterContinental Energy now holds 26.4% stake, CWP Global 17.8% and Macquarie Capital and Macquarie’s Green Investment Group (GIG) another 15.3% share.
Previously named Asian Renewable Energy Hub, the project is coming up in Western Australia with 26 GW large scale wind and solar power capacity. It started off as a 6 GW project, scaled up to 15 GW and eventually ballooned to 26 GW.
Even though it secured environmental approval for 15 GW capacity in late 2020, in June 2021, the Australian government cited environmental protection and diversity concerns related to the project (see 26 GW Wind-Solar Complex In Australia In Trouble).
It was followed by bp announcing its interest in the project (see BP Joins 26 GW Strong Australian RE Hub).
“We’re excited to take the next step forward with AREH and work closely with our project partners, community representatives and regulators to better understand the opportunities and challenges associated with the project,” said bp’s Project Director and Vice President of Hydrogen in AsiaPac, Lucy Nation.
The 15 GW environmentally approved capacity can develop 2 GW solar PV capacity divided into 37×55 MW individual solar arrays, and up to 1,743 wind turbines. The project owners have proposed to expand solar arrays compared to the original proposal and additional of downstream processing facilities using seawater and renewable power on site.
At full capacity, the 26 GW project will be able to produce around 1.6 million ton renewables-based hydrogen or 9 million tons green ammonia annually.
Power generated will largely be used locally to be used for hydrogen and ammonia production and export, along with being used locally in Pilbara for large-scale mine electrification, the replacement of imported diesel fuels with locally produced hydrogen and facilitate mineral and metal processing and higher-value exports.
Meanwhile, the world’s largest planned solar, storage and transmission project with up to 20 GW capacity, also in Australia is now seeking environmental clearance from Northern Territory Government for this facility. Its Supplement to the Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) is now open for public consultation till January 31, 2023 on Northern Territory Environment Protection Authority (NTEPA) website.
While project owner Sun Cable called it a significant development milestone for the Australia-Asia PowerLink (AAPowerLink) project, NTEPA will be able to identify issues of concern, potential effects or potential mitigation measures for the project basis feedback received.
Financed by billionaires Andrew Forrest and Mike Cannon-Brookes, the AAPowerLink is designed to transport solar power generated in Australia to Singapore vis subsea cables. It is already investment-ready on the federal government’s Infrastructure Priority List (see Investment Milestone For Sun Cable Project).