Mega renewables project given environmental green light in Western Australia

The developers of a renewable energy generation and export hub with a potential capacity of up to 15GW have received environmental backing for the project from the Western Australian Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Environmental approval for the Asian Renewable Energy Hub (AREH) was recommended this week, subject to conditions including consultation on management plans with traditional landowners and managing and monitoring impacts on migratory birds.

The facilities, located in the Pilbara region of WA, will be comprised of up to 1,743 wind turbines (an estimated 7GW) and around 2GW of solar panels about 220 km East of Port Hedland.

Up to 3GW of power will be set aside for energy users in the Pilbara, while the “bulk of the power will enable large scale production of green hydrogen products for domestic and export markets,” according to the scheme’s website.

The EPA’s approval refers to the original 9GW segment of the project, which has subsequently grown in the last two years following additional capacity studies. The 15GW project will require $30 billion in investment and will generate 50TWh of electricity a year.

A final investment decision on the AREH is expected in 2025, with construction slated for 2026 and first exports expected in 2027.

Project developers include global wind turbine manufacturer Vestas, Australia’s CWP Renewables, Macquarie Group and Intercontinental Energy.