Renewable energy company CWP Global is working with partners to develop one of the world’s largest renewable power projects. The 26GW, wind-and-solar-to-hydrogen Asian Renewable Energy Hub (AREH) is set to be built on a 6,500-square km site within the Pilbara region of Western Australia.
The AREH project was awarded Major Project Status in recognition of its strategic importance and economic potential for Australia. At full capacity, AREH could produce 1.6 million tonnes of green hydrogen per year.
In June 2022, UK-based energy giant, bp, announced it would take a 40.5% stake in the Western Australia mega project. This demonstrates the potential bp sees for Australia to become a major renewable energy exporter.
More broadly, AREH shows how Australia’s natural resources and strategic location can contribute to the global hydrogen revolution.
CWP has been a renewables company since its creation in 2006. The company has a proven track record of guiding renewables projects from the concept stage to completion, both in Australia and in Europe.
CWP’s success at the forefront of the emerging renewable energy industry has positioned it to work on conceptualising and developing mega-scale green hydrogen projects. CWP Development Director Andrew Dickson says that the company commenced work on AREH in 2014. He says work is advancing well.
‘The concept is to harness the massive renewable energy potential of large coastal desert sites, with complementary wind and solar resources,’ he says. ‘Night-time wind with day-time solar can deliver a huge amount of steady power to electrolysers to produce green hydrogen and its derivatives, such as green ammonia.’
According to Dickson, CWP is among a handful of global developers to pioneer this type of project. He reports that AREH has state and federal government approvals for the first 15GW of wind and solar generation.
‘One of the attractions of the project is that the Pilbara is a huge iron ore mining region,’ he says. ‘The energy from our project, whether it’s captured as electrons, or hydrogen or ammonia molecules, can help to decarbonise existing mining operations.
‘There’s also the potential to use green ammonia fuels to power ships that export iron ore. This creates the conditions for new green shipping corridors to key export markets.’
The project will be built in phases. Further approvals, procurement, financing and construction will follow, with 2028 the current target date for first hydrogen exports.
CWP is one of the largest renewable independent power producers in Australia. Work with consortium partners on AREH has enabled CWP to pursue big new ideas, which the company is now taking to the world.
Opportunities beckon. CWP has searched the globe for more locations that fit the large coastal and renewables-rich desert landscape template.
The company is now working on other mega-scale green hydrogen projects in Morocco, Mauritania, Argentina and Chile.
CWP is also involved in a second Australian hydrogen project. The Western Green Energy Hub will be located on the coast near the border between South Australia and Western Australia. It is designed to deliver up to 50GW of renewable power, and is being developed in partnership with InterContinental Energy and the Traditional Owners of the land, the Mirning People.
‘Our pioneering work on AREH has laid the foundations for replicating this model elsewhere in Australia and worldwide,’ says Dickson.
‘The only way to achieve rapid energy transition in hard-to-abate sectors is through bold, green energy projects on a massive scale,’ he adds. ‘We are driven by the need for urgency and scale.’
The Western Green Energy Hub is also the largest commercial project contemplated in partnership with Aboriginal Traditional Owners in Australia’s history.
Austrade has supported CWP’s hydrogen work over the past 3 years. This has included presentations in Berlin, visits to the Ruhr Valley, and direct engagement with potential Japanese and Korean offtakers.
Dickson says that working with Austrade has helped introduce the company to potential investors and customers around the world.
‘We are attracting the interest of very large energy and investment players as the pace of transition in the energy sector accelerates,’ he says. ‘We have the vision – and we are now securing strategic partners to help us to build these complicated projects, and to commercialise the offtake.
‘We’re working hard and fast to build a portfolio of renewables-to-hydrogen mega-projects. We think this is what the world needs if we’re to have a chance at delivering a net zero global economy by 2050.
Find more information on CWP’s green hydrogen mega-projects.