Alinta is planning a massive 1GW offshore wind project and the first wind farm in Pilbara

Alinta plans to build a huge 1 gigawatt offshore wind farm to enter Australia’s main grid – the first major utility in the country to commit to it – as part of a massive spending spree on renewable energy and storage.

CEO Jeff Dimery says Alinta is also ready to announce the first major wind farm to be built in Pilbara in northwestern Australia – possibly around 300 MW – to help meet the growing demand from industrial customers in the region for energy supplies with low and no carbon.

The revelations were made in an interview with RenewEconomy ‘weekly podcast, Energy Insiders, where Dimery also talked about the possibilities of pumped hydropower and battery storage and commented on the introduction of 5-minute settlements and lack of agreement on a capacity mechanism the company favors.

But the big news is the planned 1GW “plus” offshore wind project that is likely to be at the center of a planned $ 6 billion investment in renewable energy and storage. Dimery said he could not reveal details about either the location or the major customer because the final deal had not yet been signed.

“We basically believe that to replace coal-fired, we will need large-scale offshore wind,” Dimery said. Alinta owns the Loy Yang B coal generator in Victoria and other gas production and renewable and battery projects across the country.

“We think it’s the most exciting of any offshore wind project, but as you’ve highlighted, it’s a race.”

Asked if it should be in NSW, Victoria or Tasmania, Dimery would not say. He said it would be in shallow water rather than a floating plant in deeper waters, suggesting southern Victoria or Tasmania probably is.

Dimery also said it was not a previously identified project. About 12 different potential offshore wind farms have been identified in Australia, with the 2GW Star of the South project off Gippsland in Victoria being seen as the most advanced.

See RenewEconomy’s offshore wind farm map of Australia

Offshore wind is now seen as the big new game in key overseas markets such as Europe, the US and Asia, but it is still more expensive than wind and solar on land, although costs are falling. Asked about these cost issues, Dimery said:

“We know all this, David, and we are still very excited. There are ways to handle certain things and I just can not move on.

“But I’m not wasting my time and the time of my development team. We are spending a lot of money on capital at this time to make this a reality. And we would not do it if we did not think it would not be economical. ”

Dimery also said Alinta is looking at a major investment in wind farms in Pilbara, where its large industrial customers are looking for cheaper, low-emission renewable energy sources in their energy supply.

“We are seriously looking at the connection between a wind farm development in Pilbara and we are looking across a number of locations around 300MW,” says Dimery. “We think about 300 MW is highly feasible.”

Alinta already operates a major gas plant and is looking to add a photovoltaic plant and a new large battery in the Port Hedland network, which is loosely connected to the private network it operates from Mt Newman, where it has another gas generator, the first large battery and a newly opened solarium in Chichester.

This Mt Newman network supplies power to the iron ore mines operated by billionaires Andrew Forrest and Gina Rinehart.

Such a wind farm may be the first for the Pilbara region, but it will not be the last. Forrest is looking at wind energy to increase its access to renewable energy sources as well as for its massive green hydrogen plans.

CWP and Intercontinental are also looking at a 26GW plant that combines wind and solar, but mostly wind, for the Asian Renewable Energy Hub, which will supply green ammonia and hydrogen to Australian and international customers.

Dimery also spoke about his company’s interest in the large Ovens Mountain pumped hydropower project in NSW, which will connect with adjacent wind and solar projects and likely form part of the state government’s roadmap for renewable infrastructure.

He also admitted that his company’s assets had been “caught” by market increases following the introduction of five-minute settlements, lamenting that state and federal energy ministers did not agree on a proposed capacity market mechanism that his company supported.

“I did not read any post that extended the life of the bullet,” Dimery said.

“I read posts that, if you will, aimed to ensure that coal was not withdrawn from the market until early. And I do not think there should be any excuse for that, for the transition to be smooth, it should be affordable. ”

See also: “We’ve Been Caught:” Switch to 5-minute settlement traps market turtles

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