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World’s Biggest Renewable Energy Hub Set To Be Built In WA

World’s Biggest Renewable Energy Hub Set To Be Built In WA

24th September 2021
By: Olivia - F&F

As one of the sunniest and windiest countries in the world, Australia has the opportunity to become a renewable energy superpower! The proposed Western Green Energy Hub (WGEH) could finally turn this idea into a reality — potentially generating enough electricity to power the entire country. Let’s take a look!

Western Australia Renewable EnergyWestern Australia Renewable Energy

Australia Could Host The World’s Biggest Wind, Solar & Hydrogen Hub

Soon, the world’s largest renewable energy hub could exist right here in Australia! The purpose of the $100 billion WGEH project is to convert clean wind and solar power into green hydrogen and green ammonia. These green fuels would be used in power stations, shipping, heavy industry and aviation.

The massive site in Western Australia (in fact, it’s the size of Greater Sydney!) has been chosen for its high levels of wind and solar energy. The entire WGEH is set to have a whopping 50 gigawatts (GW) of energy capacity! We know what you’re thinking: 50GW — is that a lot? The answer is YES

In fact, “It would rank as one of Australia’s biggest-ever projects of any kind, and not far short of the size of the country’s main grid,” according to Giles Parkinson at Renew Economy. For context, Australia’s biggest coal-fired power plant is just 2.9GW.

Green Hydrogen Electric VehiclesGreen Hydrogen Electric Vehicles

The Growing ‘Green Fuels’ Industry

The several companies behind the project — including Australian renewable energy developer CWP Global, Indigenous-owned Mirning Green Energy Limited, and Hong Kong-based InterContinental Energy — plan to build the WGEH in three stages to produce 3.5 million tonnes of green hydrogen or 20 million tonnes of green ammonia annually. These ‘green fuels’ will be used for both domestic use and export, which is great news for Australia as a fairly coal-dependent nation.  

“Green fuels produced at the site will meet massive future demand from multiple sectors, including in co-firing in power generation, the shipping sector, heavy industry such as steel, chemicals and mining, as well as the aviation sector,” the group said in a media release. The green hydrogen sector is predicted to become a US$2.5 trillion market by 2050!

Climate Council Hydrogen RainbowClimate Council Hydrogen Rainbow

What Is Green Hydrogen & The Hydrogen Rainbow?

You’ve probably heard of green, blue, grey and brown hydrogen, so what’s the difference between them all? It’s important to note that hydrogen doesn’t just appear out of thin air — that’s why the Climate Council created the Hydrogen Rainbow. It refers to all the different types of energy that we can use to make hydrogen — this is what matters most!

Black, brown and grey hydrogen is produced by using polluting fossil fuels like black coal, brown coal, and gas. Blue hydrogen is produced by using fossil fuels, but the emissions are partially reduced using carbon capture and storage technology (CCS). Lastly, green hydrogen is produced using renewable electricity from solar panels and wind turbines. This is, without a doubt, the type of hydrogen that we need to generate. It will drastically cut Australia’s electricity-related emissions and help us to achieve net-zero emissions as early as 2030!

Nullaboor Plain Mirning TraditionalNullaboor Plain Mirning Traditional

The Historic Partnership With First Nations Land Owners

The WGEH is built upon a sustainable partnership with the Mirning People — the Traditional Owners of the land. Mirning Board Member of WGEH, Trevor Naley, says the historical partnership gives a “seat at the table” to Mirning Green Energy Limited and First Nations Land Owners. “This representation, alongside sustainable financial and substantial social benefits, will provide security for future generations,” said Naley. 

Chairman of the Board of WGEH, Brendan Hammond, said that the WGEH is historic on two fronts: “First, the scale at which we will be able to deliver green fuels to markets and customers around the world, helping to move us all towards a net-zero future. Second, and possibly more importantly, the way in which we are working with the Mirning People, the original owners of the land,” Hammond said.

The WGEH could be a serious game-changer for Australia’s energy grid and pathway to net-zero emissions. Generating massive amounts of clean, reliable and sustainable green hydrogen to use domestically and export overseas is a smart move — both for the environment and the economy! 

If you’re interested in renewable energy news, make sure you check out the Eco News category for more amazing stories.

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