EPA probes energy hub plan

Taylar AmoniniNorth West Telegraph

The Pilbara may soon be home to a large-scale wind and solar hybrid renewable energy project near Port Hedland, after the Environmental Protection Authority agreed to assess the impacts of the plan.

The EPA last month decided to proceed with the assessment of the Asian Renewable Energy Hub’s environmental impacts, after a proposal which outlined the clearance of more than 7000ha of native vegetation was submitted. Developed by NW Interconnected Power, an international consortium comprising CWP Energy Asia, InterContinental Energy and Vestas, the hub would export renewable energy to Indonesia and Singapore via a subsea power cable.

The site of the proposed project is about 220km east of Port Hedland. According to EPA documents, detailed assessment is required “to determine the extent of the proposal’s direct and indirect impacts, and how the environmental issues could be managed.”

EPA documents said the project could affect migratory shorebirds, marine environmental quality and marine fauna within the Eighty Mile Beach Marine Park, as well as social surroundings including Aboriginal heritage and amenity values.

The project includes an onshore component, comprising up to 1200 wind turbines and more than 644,000ha of solar panels, and an offshore component, comprising two subsea power cables passing through Eighty Mile Beach Marine Park waters.

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