An international consortium is plotting a US$70 billion green hydrogen development in Western Australia that could eventually produce up to 50 gigawatts of hybrid wind and solar power.
The proposed Western Green Energy Hub (WGEH) covers an area of 15,000 square kilometers in the south-east of Western Australia, covering the shires of Dundas and the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder.
The average wind speed at the project site is about nine meters per second, while solar irradiation has been measured at about 2000 kilowatt hours per square metre.
The site is also believed to have an "optimal diurnal profile of windy at night and sunny during the day", with an expected 70% delivered capacity factor.
The project will be built in phases up to the targeted 50GW capacity, powering 28GW of electrolysers which would be capable of delivering up to 3.5 million tonnes of renewable hydrogen or 20 million tonnes of green ammonia each year.
The green hydrogen and ammonia could be supplied for both domestic and export markets, with the proposed project site being situated on the coast.
The consortium claims fuel produced at the site will help meet demand from multiple sectors in the future, noting the green hydrogen sector is predicted to become a US$2.5 trillion market by 2050.
The West Australian government welcomed the announcement of the hydrogen project proposal on Tuesday, noting the project proponents had secured a licence to collect data and work to develop the project feasibility on the proposed site.
"The Western Green Energy Hub is a truly massive proposal that would see WA home to one of the world's largest renewable energy projects,” West Australian Hydrogen Minister Alannah MacTiernan said.
"Right across WA we are seeing renewable hydrogen projects taking their next steps forward - from the Kimberley to Esperance. Our State is perfectly positioned to lead the global renewable hydrogen industry, delivering a strong economic future for WA and becoming a major contributor to global decarbonisation."
She added that the government would continue to work with the WGEH consortium as it works towards an investment decision, which is currently expected post 2028.
Asian Renewable Energy Hub connection
The consortium developing the project includes InterContinental Energy and CWP Global, two of the companies behind the proposed 26GW Asian Renewable Energy Hub, which hit a snag last month when the Australian government rejected the project proposal on environmental grounds.
The consortium developing the US$36 billion Asian Renewable Energy Hub has vowed to continue to engage with the federal government as it continues to progress work on the detailed design and engineering aspects of the project.
The West Australian state government, which has already given its approval for the first phase of development, has also urged the federal government to reconsider its position.
'Historic partnership' with traditional land owners
Also joining InterContinental and CWP at the WGEH development is Mirning Green Energy — a wholly owned subsidiary of the Mirning Traditional Lands Aboriginal Corporation.
InterContinental claimed the partnership with the Mirning people set “a new global benchmark” in partnering with First Nations Land Owners.
In addition to a “meaningful” carried equity stake in the project, InterContinental said the Mirning People would also have a permanent seat on the WGEH consortium board.
“As First Nations Land Owners, the Mirning People are excited to hold such an integral and defining stake in this historical partnership with WGEH,” Trevor Naley, the inaugural Mirning board member of WGEH and the chairman of the Mirning Traditional Lands Aboriginal Corporation said.
“This partnership through robust governance and a seat at the table for Mirning People will provide opportunities never before available to Indigenous Corporations. This representation alongside sustainable financial and substantial social benefits will provide security for future generations.”