Australia, Indonesia propose joint 6 GW solar+wind hybrid plant

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Sharing is caring, and Australia sure knows how to do that. As part of a proposed massive hybrid project the Asian Renewable Energy Hub (AREH) in Western Australia, comprising 4 GW of wind power and 2 GW of solar capacity, the country would share its abundant renewable energy resources for the benefit of Indonesia, where a fast-growing economy has resulted in rapidly rising energy needs.

While the plant would be located in Australia, the wind and solar generating equipment would be manufactured in Indonesia, bringing opportunities for new jobs, the development of a local supply chain, and technology and knowledge transfer. In Australia, meanwhile, many jobs will be created during the construction as well as the maintenance and operations phase, said AREH.

“As renewable energy becomes cost-competitive with fossil fuels, it becomes more and more attractive both as source of electricity and as a source of jobs and investment,” said Clive Turton, President of Vestas Asia Pacific. “The Asian Renewable Energy Hub can compete over the long-term as a cost-effective means of supplying energy. It can also provide the foundation for a strong Indonesian renewable energy technology manufacturing hub, driving investment, job creation and a local value-added supply chain.”

Danish wind giant Vestas, which has confirmed that it will provide the wind turbines for the project, said that the scale of the wind turbines, solar panels and related equipment needed for the Project would be large enough to justify building new manufacturing facilities in Indonesia. 

“Over the next two years the Asian Renewable Energy Hub project plans on identifying the best solar partner who can work with us in delivering the needed solar equipment for the project through establishing a manufacturing facility in Indonesia,” Andrew Hilton of Vestas told pv magazine, stressing that at this stage there are no formal contracts for any of the wind or solar suppliers.

Other partners on the project include renewables developers CWP Energy Asia and InterContinental Energy, subsea cable manufacturer Prysmian and offshore contractor Swire Pacific Offshore.

“Wind and solar energy, working together, have enormous potential to supply reliable and competitively-priced renewable energy across regions,” said Alexander Hewitt, managing Director of CWP Energy Asia.  “Given the increasing ability to move energy over long distances, the Asia Renewable Energy Hub is a compelling proposition for Indonesia – not only for supplying the energy, but for the economic benefits that come with establishing manufacturing facilities in Indonesia.“

The first phase of the AREH Project has an initial cost estimate of $10 billion, with subsequent phases to include supplying renewable energy to other countries in South East Asia.

The development license for the project stretching across 7,000 square kilometers of land in the East Pilbara region was signed with the Western Australia government last year.

The project is slated to reach financial close in 2020 and become fully operational in 2029.

Earlier this month, the 375 MW hybrid renewable power station at Port Augusta in South Australia, expected to be Australia’s largest such energy farm once completed, moved forward as Downer was selected to develop the 150 MW solar energy component, while Vestas was contracted to build 225 MW of wind power.