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Asian Renewable Energy Hub Reaches $22 Billion Budget

The consortium behind a massive renewable energy project proposed for the Pilbara has brought Macquarie Group on board as an investor and bolstered the budget to more than $22 billion.

The Asian Renewable Energy Hub has also increased the wind and solar power development’s planned output from 9 gigawatts to more than 11 GW, with a greater focus on supplying domestic industry consumers.

Macquarie has agreed to provide development capital to the hub and join wind farm investor CWP Energy Asia, renewables developer Intercontinental Energy and Danish wind turbine manufacturer Vestas in the consortium.

The value of Macquarie’s commitment was not disclosed. The group has invested more than $20 billion in green energy globally since 2010 and has 12,546MW renewable power in operation or under management globally. Its assets include two Victorian wind farms.

Originally conceived to supply energy to South-East Asia via subsea electrical cables, more than half of the hub’s output has now been allocated for Pilbara power users, predominantly in mining as well as anticipated production of hydrogen fuel.

It will feature 1400 wind turbines and 17 million solar panels.

Concept maps for the proposed Asian Renewable Energy Hub, about 220km east of Port Hedland
Concept maps for the proposed Asian Renewable Energy Hub, about 220km east of Port Hedland.

The consortium said about 7.5GW of generation capacity would come from wind turbines and 3.5GW from solar photovoltaic arrays at the 6400sqkm East Pilbara site. The hub would generate about 40 terawatt hours per annum.

The WA Government has granted the hub lead agency status — recognition of the project’s development progress and economic development potential.

A final investment decision for the first phase of the hub is planned for 2021. The hub is expected to be constructed in phases over six to seven years.

“The Asian Renewable Energy Hub will supply large-scale, low-cost, clean energy to enable customers in the Pilbara to grow, unlocking billions of dollars of investment potential throughout the region,” hub director Alex Tancock said.

Pilbara Development Commission chairman Brendan Hammond said the development would be a major boost for jobs.

“Renewable energy is a key economic diversification opportunity for the Pilbara which capitalises on existing natural wind and solar assets,” Mr Hammond said.

“Producing renewable energy in the region would boost the business competitiveness of the Pilbara by lowering the cost of energy to accelerate the rate development in not only mining, but other emerging industries.”

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