Energy giant bp announced the acquisition of a 40.5% in the Asian Renewable Energy Hub (AREH) in Western Australia, poised to become one of the world’s largest renewable and green hydrogen energy projects. With the new agreement, bp lead and operate the project, and become the largest stakeholder in the hub, alongside Intercontinental Energy, CWP Global, Macquarie and Macquarie’s Green Investment Group,

Over multiple phases, AREH aims to develop up to 26 GW total generating capacity from wind and solar power, the equivalent of producing more than 90 terawatt hours per year, which around one third of all electricity generated in Australia in 2020. The hub could also produce as much as 1.6 million tonnes of green hydrogen or 9 million tonnes of green ammonia per year, positioning it as one of the largest green hydrogen projects in the world.

Intercontinental Energy, who will become the second-largest partner in the project with a 26% equity stake, has estimated the cost of the hub to reach $36 billion.

Anja-Isabel Dotzenrath, bp’s executive Vice President of gas and low carbon energy, said:

“AREH is set to be one of the largest renewable and green hydrogen energy hubs in the world and can make a significant contribution to Australia and the wider Asia Pacific region’s energy transition. It truly reflects what integrated energy is – combining solar and onshore wind power with hydrogen production and using it to help transform sectors and regions.”

Situated on a 6,500-square kilometers site, the project intends to supply renewable energy to local customers in the largest mining region in the world, and produce green hydrogen and green ammonia for the Australian market and export to international users. At full capacity, AREH is expected to abate about 17 million tons of carbon in domestic and export markets annually.

Frédéric Baudry, President, bp Australia said:

“This is an incredibly exciting development, and we are looking forward to working closely with our partners, InterContinental Energy, CWP Global, Macquarie Capital and Macquarie’s Green Investment Group, as well as the Nyangumarta people. bp brings a broad range of capabilities to help bring the project to fruition, with extensive experience in constructing and operating facilities of this scale in remote locations in close collaboration with local communities and leveraging our global shipping and trading businesses.”

bp launched a long-term strategy in 2020 to transform itself from an international oil company into an integrated energy company, with goals to reduce oil and gas production over time while increasing investments in low carbon energy sources. More recently, the company announced that it plans to increase the proportion of its total capex in ‘transition growth businesses,’ such as bioenergy, convenience, electric vehicle (EV) charging, renewables and hydrogen to more than 40% by 2025 and around 50% by 2030, and aims to reach 50 GW of renewable power capacity by 2030.

Dotzenrath, added:

“We believe AREH can be a cornerstone project for us in helping our local and global customers and partners in meeting their net zero and energy commitments. It will also serve as a long-term clean energy security contributor in Asia Pacific, helping countries such as South Korea and Japan to decarbonize.”