A coalition of renewable energy leaders has unveiled plans to build a 6 gigawatt wind and solar hybrid power plant in Western Australia with the sole intention of exporting its electricity production to its northern neighbor Indonesia via subsea electrical cables.
The project in question is the Asian Renewable Energy Hub (AREH), a proposed 6 GW (gigawatt) hybrid wind and solar power plant which would then export the electricity north via subsea cables to Indonesia, thereby solving several key energy and sustainable development issues currently facing the Asian country. The wind and solar generating technology would be manufactured in Indonesia, creating a new source of skilled, high-tech jobs and supporting the development of an important supply chain.
The AREH project is the brainchild of leading renewable energy project developers CWP Energy Asia and InterContinental Energy, and wind energy manufacturer Vestas.
“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 project would be built in the East Pilbara region of Western Australia, the country’s western-most state, and is expected to begin construction in 2023 and reach full operation by 2029, meeting Indonesia’s energy demand and renewable energy targets. The East Pilbara site is an impressive renewable energy source, and its proximity to Indonesia, combined with recent advances in subsea cable technology, means that the project is nowhere near as expensive as it might sound at first. The first phase of the project has an initial cost of around $10 billion, and subsequent phases of the project could look to begin exporting renewable energy to other countries in South East Asia.
“The most important step in developing a project is finding the best site,” said Alexander Tancock, Managing Director of InterContinental Energy. “We spent two years investigating the entire northwest coast of Australia, and found this incredible location. Almost three times the size of Bali; it has a unique geography and topography that gives it far higher wind and solar resources than the average in that area. And those resources are perfectly complementary, with lots of sun during the daytime and high wind speeds in the morning, evening and night. That is why we can deliver such competitively priced power to Indonesia.”
As can be seen below, the East Pilbara site can generate a tremendous amount of renewable electricity at a constant rate.
“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,” added 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.”
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