The Federal Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley has rejected the expanded proposal for the Asian Renewable Energy Hub in Western Australia after changes were made to the original plans for the project.
The federal government last year backed plans for the Hub, granting it major project status, but after the group of companies behind the project amended it from exporting electricity via undersea cables to renewable ammonia, the federal government has refused to sign off.
The new plans included clearing land for wind and solar infrastructure, developing pipelines to transport ammonia, and building a new town between Broome and Port Hedland to house workers.
“The Minister concluded that the proposal would have unacceptable impacts on matters of national environmental significance,” a ministerial spokesperson told the ABC.
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Concerns were raised over there being potential damage to threatened bird species as well as tides in the areas.
The Clean Energy Council is seeking urgent clarification from the Federal Minister for the Environment “to address the perception that this decision is inconsistent with well-established processes or with the treatment of non-renewable projects”.
“The Asian Renewable Energy Hub is a transformative economic opportunity for Australia, making a significant contribution to local and global decarbonisation efforts. The value of the project to Australia has been recognised by the Federal Government granting it Major Project Status,” the Clean Energy Council said in a statement.
“We expect that the Commonwealth will work in partnership with the Asian Renewable Energy Hub to provide the necessary guidance to appropriately assess and address any environmental impacts under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.”