October 8, 2018 / 6:54 AM / 10 days ago

Macquarie joins huge Australian west coast solar, wind project

MELBOURNE, Oct 8 (Reuters) - Macquarie Group said on Monday it has agreed to help back an ambitious A$22 billion ($16 billion) solar and wind power project in outback Australia that could eventually provide power to Indonesia, as well as big miners and hydrogen projects.

The project, called the Asian Renewable Energy Hub, is looking to build 11 gigawatts (GW) of power capacity, with more than half to be allocated to energy users and potential hydrogen producers in northwestern Australia.

Macquarie has agreed to provide development capital and take an equity stake in the project, alongside Danish wind turbines giant Vestas and privately owned Intercontinental Energy and CWP Energy Asia, the Asian Renewable Energy Hub said in a statement.

A Macquarie spokesman declined to comment on the size of the stake or provide further details of the group’s involvement.

“From our perspective, it’s a vote of confidence in the project,” CWP Renewables spokesman Andrew Dickson said of Macquarie’s participation.

The project, which has been in the planning stages since 2014, aims to win environmental approval from the state of Western Australia by the end of 2019 and secure financing around 2021. The wind and solar hub would be built in phases over six or seven years.

“It really depends on offtakes. We’ve got multiple paths to market,” Dickson said.

At 11 GW, the project would be equivalent to nearly 20 percent of Australia’s current total power generation capacity.

$1 = 1.4162 Australian dollars Reporting by Sonali Paul; editing by Richard Pullin

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