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The project company for the Asian Renewable Energy Hub has announced that Macquarie Group has agreed to join the consortium developing the project and provide development capital. Macquarie's consortium partners for the over 11 GW project are Intercontinental Energy, Vestas and CWP Energy Asia.
The Asian Renewable Energy Hub is a proposed wind and solar hybrid power hub in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. InterContinental Energy, Vestas and CWP Energy Asia first announced plans for the project in November last year, following three years of work developing the proposal and assessing its viability. Then, it was proposed to have a maximum installed capacity of 6 GW and cost an estimated US$10 billion.
In May this year, the consortium announced a new plan for the hub's generation capacity to expand to 9 GW, which would comprise 6 GW of wind generation and 3 GW of solar PV generation.
With Macquarie joining the project, the proposed capacity of the hub increases to over 11 GW. This will consist of 7.5+ GW of wind turbines and 3.5+ GW of solar photovoltaic arrays, which will generate 40+ TWh of energy per annum. Total capital investment in the hub is anticipated to be in excess of AUD22 billion (US$15.5 billion).
More than half of the energy produced by the hub will be supplied to existing and new energy users in the Pilbara region, including mines, mineral processing and anticipated large scale production of green hydrogen. The remainder will be directly exported to South East Asia via subsea electrical cables.
The hub is expected to be constructed in phases over a 6-7 year period. Financial close for the first phase of the hub is anticipated in 2021.
It represents a growing trend in the renewable energy sector in Australia, where such hybrid hubs are becoming popular. Last week, the government of Queensland declared the proposed Kidston Renewable Energy Hub a coordinated project, fast-tracking its development. Submitted by Genex Power, the hub will comprise solar, wind and pumped hydro storage components.
In May this year, Neoen began construction of a circa 200 MW renewable hub in Victoria. In August, CWP received planning approval from the government of New South Wales to expand its 270 MW Sapphire wind farm into a wind, solar and storage hub.