The following project of Australian renewable energy export to Indonesia has not taken anyone by surprise. On the contrary, it has been anticipated by many as a new element in the international trade of resources. Although geographically far from the MENA region, it is nonetheless an indication of a trend that could prevail between the northern and southern shores of the Mediterranean basin. Could the oil rich Gulf countries develop similar alternatives to their fossil fuels relationship with not only the world but perhaps focus more on their northern neighbours in Eastern Europe, etc. ? Or could it perhaps be the other way around ?
A coalition of renewable energy leaders has proposed plans to build a 6 GW wind and solar hybrid power plant in Western Australia to export its electricity production to its northern neighbor Indonesia via subsea electrical cables.The project is called the Asian Renewable Energy Hub (AREH) and is a team effort between renewable energy project developers CWP Energy Asia, 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. The project will supply energy, helping Indonesia meet its energy needs, as well as have economic benefits, Hewitt added.
The project will cover 7,000 square kilometers (2,703 square miles) in the East Pilbara region of Western Australia, the country’s western-most state, Construction is expected to start in 2023, with full operation scheduled to begin by 2029. Electricity will be generated from 4MW of wind capacity and 2MW of solar capacity.
The key to the success of the project involves the advances that have been made in subsea cable technology. The submarine cables will also be able to carry optical fibers for data transmission or temperature measurement, in addition to the high-voltage electrical current.
The project covers 7,000 square kilometres of land in the East Pilbara region of Western Australia. It is on the traditional lands of the Nyangumarta people, who have been active participants in the project.
And while the plant will be located in Australia, the wind and solar generating equipment will be manufactured in Indonesia, creating opportunities for high-skilled job growth and the development of a local supply chain. And Australia will also see many jobs created with this project, not only during construction but in the maintenance and operation phase.
Danish wind giant, Vestas will be supplying the wind turbines for the project, and the company says the project is large enough to justify constructing new manufacturing facilities in Indonesia. Andrew Hilton of Vestas told PV magazine, “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.”
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