Planned Pilbara renewable energy hub scales up

Alicia PereraPilbara News
Asian Renewable Energy Hub project director Andrew Dickson.
Camera IconAsian Renewable Energy Hub project director Andrew Dickson. Credit: Pilbara News, Alicia Perera

The capacity of a giant renewable energy project proposed for the East Pilbara has been scaled up by more than one third of its former capacity and is expected to create a combined 3500 jobs during and after construction.

2500sqkm hybrid wind and solar power development the Asian Renewable Energy Hub has had its output capacity increased from 11GW to 15GW, it was revealed at the Developing Northern Australia Conference in Karratha earlier this month.

Speaking at the conference, Asian Renewable Energy Hub project director Andrew Dickson said the consortium behind the hub was aiming to develop “a renewable energy project at oil and gas scale” with a focus on new markets.

“The generation potential is massive — 15GW of capacity will be able to generate around 50TW/h per year of electricity,” he said.

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“If you put that into context, WA’s total generation over a year is less than that, it’s 40TW/h, and Victoria is less as well, it’s 47TW/h, so this will generate really large amounts of renewables that can create value in multiple ways.”

Mr Dickson also revealed the project was expected to create 3000 jobs during its 10-year construction, and 500 more in operation.

He said the hub had the potential to create new industry for WA by facilitating the production of renewable hydrogen and creating an opportunity for local manufacturing and assembly roles.

“The presence of large-scale, cheap, clean electrons in the Pilbara, as well as large-scale, cheap, clean hydrogen, offers all sorts of new opportunities for the region,” he said.

“One of them obviously is reducing the cost of electricity in the Pilbara, which will be transformative.”

“It also offers the possibilities of replacing diesel in the Pilbara, or creating new industry based on other resources in the Pilbara such as hydrogen-based fuel.”

The Asian Renewable Energy Hub will supply energy to Pilbara power network the North West Interconnected System, as well as to South-East Asia via subsea electrical cables.

Mr Dickson said environmental and planning approvals for the project were expected to be completed by 2021, and a final investment decision reached in about four years.

Construction is expected to take place in phases over eight to 10 years.

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