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Western Australia plans world’s biggest renewable energy hub

Albany wind farm in Western Australia. (Stock image.)

An international consortium plans to build what would be the world’s biggest renewable energy hub along the south coast of Western Australia.

The Western Green Energy Hub (WGEH) would stretch across 15,000 square km, an area bigger than the size of greater Sydney, and could produce up to 50 gigawatts of energy. The A$100 billion ($75bn) project would also convert wind and solar power into green fuels like hydrogen.

The project’s 50GW capacity compares to the 54GW of generation capacity of all the coal, gas and renewables plants in Australia’s energy market, which includes all states except Western Australia and the Northern Territory. The country’s largest coal plant generates just 2.9GW.

The group behind the proposal, including Intercontinental Energy and CWP Global, said the green hydrogen market will be worth $2.5 trillion by 2050.

The Western Green Energy Hub (WGEH) would stretch across an area bigger than greater Sydney, and could produce up to 50 gigawatts of energy

Both companies are already involved in the Asian Renewable Energy Hub, another contender for the world’s largest green power site that was rejected by Australia’s environment minister last month. Hong Kong-based InterContinental is also seeking to develop a green hydrogen project in Oman.

The project, to be built in conjunction with Mirning Green Energy Limited, would be developed in three phases to produce up to 3.5 million tonnes of green hydrogen or 20 million tonnes of green ammonia each year.

The proposal would be innovative not only in the scale of green energy produced but also in the model of partnership with the Mirning people, who are the traditional owners of the land, the companies said.

The wind and solar generation would be located across the Shires of Dundas and the city of Kalgoorlie-Boulder, with the complementary nature of windy nights and sunny days providing an expected 70% capacity factor.

The state government has committed more than A$35 million towards developing a renewable hydrogen industry.