Cables cut from Hub plans
The company planning to build the world's largest wind-and-solar power generator in Australia has changed its plans.
The proposed 26GW Asian Renewable Energy Hub originally planned to send electricity through thousands of kilometres of undersea cables to Singapore.
However, just days after receiving environmental approval to do so, the owners of the hub have decided to produce ammonia for export instead of electricity.
Project director Brendan Hammond from Intercontinental Energy says ammonia provides more options to choose markets.
“The ammonia is then able to be put in tankers and transported all over the world,” Mr Hammond said.
“Effectively enabling us to produce renewable green energy at oil and gas scale, and transport the energy freely wherever the markets need it across the world.”
The project aims to produce a staggering 26 gigawatts of electricity - more than a third of Australia's current total capacity – from over 1,700 wind turbines covering 668,100ha, and eighteen 600MW solar panel arrays, covering 1,418ha of land.
Its current plan is to use that wind-and-solar-generated electricity to extract hydrogen from water, and combine it with nitrogen from air to produce ammonia.
“The markets we're looking to supply into for the future are essentially fuel markets, where ammonia can get combusted inside existing coal-fired power stations,” Mr Hammond said.
The plan is to pipe the ammonia directly to waiting tankers for export.
“The pipeline will go undersea, and indeed be buried under the seabed, about 20 kilometres offshore where there will be a very small mooring and loading platform,” Mr Hammond said.
The proponents say they will build a new town on coast between Port Hedland and Broome.
“We'll be desalinating all of our own water, a lot of that for process reasons, and a lot for cooling reasons,” Mr Hammond said.
“We need to have lakes, and it's then logical that we would build the town around one of those lakes.”
The revised proposal will now undergo a detailed assessment, including a six-week public review period.