The federal government of Australia has given Major Project Status to the Asian Renewable Energy Hub, which it said will include “the world’s largest wind and solar electricity plant,” producing green hydrogen and ammonia. It has granted environmental approval for the first 15 GW stage of the renewable energy hub focused on green hydrogen production that could eventually reach 26 GW of solar and wind generation. This 15 GW capacity includes 5 GW of solar generation and 10 GW of wind.

The Asian Renewable Energy Hub is intended to encompass 6,500 square kilometres of land in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. While up to 3 GW of generation capacity will be dedicated to large energy users in the Pilbara, which could include new and expanded mines and downstream mineral processing, the bulk of the energy will be used for large-scale production of green hydrogen for both domestic and export markets.

The hub is being developed by a consortium of partners including InterContinental Energy, CWP Energy Asia, Vestas and Pathway Investments. It is hoped the development will help diversify the Western Australian economy and build a supply chain to manufacture some of the equipment associated with the wind and solar generation.

Approval for the first stage comes after the Western Australian government announced a AUD22 million (USD16.03 million) investment to boost the state’s hydrogen industry across four areas: export, use in remotely located industries, blending in natural gas networks and use in fuel cell electric transport vehicles.

REGlobal’s Views: Hydrogen is one of five technologies that Australia’s federal government is backing to slash emissions, with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency tasked to explore its development through fresh funding. The country’s recent budget included a AUD70.2 million (USD49.9 million) spend over five years on a hydrogen export hub as it looks to build on hydrogen-related agreements announced in the last year with countries such as Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Germany. If everything goes as per the plan, the hub will become a major new export industry for Australia.