Australian energy developer Woodside Energy has submitted a proposal to the Western Australian Environmental Protection Agency for a planned deployment of 500MW of solar power. The company hopes to use the solar power facility to power industrial customers in the state, including the company-operated Pluto LNG production facility.
The company said in May 2021 that it planned to build a utility-scale solar power facility near Karratha in Western Australia's north-west, and to power its Pluto LNG production facility.
In documents recently released by the Western Australian Environmental Protection Agency (WAEPA), it can be confirmed that Woodside Energy's goal is to build a 500MW solar power generation facility, which will also include a 400MWh battery storage system.
"Woodside Energy proposes to construct and operate this solar facility and battery storage system in the Maitland Strategic Industrial Area located approximately 15 kilometres south-west of Karratha in the Pilbara region of Western Australia," the proposal states.
The solar-plus-storage project will be deployed over a 1,100.3-hectare development. About 1 million solar panels will be installed at the solar power facility, along with supporting infrastructure such as battery energy storage systems and substations.
Woodside Energy said the solar power facility will deliver electricity to customers through the Northwest Interconnection System (NWIS), which is owned and operated by Horizon Power.
Construction of the project will be carried out in stages at a scale of 100MW, with each stage construction expected to take six to nine months. While each construction phase will result in 212,000 tons of CO2 emissions, the resulting green energy in NWIS can reduce industrial customers' carbon emissions by about 100,000 tons per year.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, more than a million images have been carved into the rocks of the Burrup Peninsula. The area has been nominated for the World Heritage List due to concerns that industrial pollutants could cause damage to the artworks. Industrial facilities in the area also include Woodside Energy's Pluto LNG plant, Yara's ammonia and explosives plant, and the Port of Dampier, where Rio Tinto exports iron ore.
The Western Australian Environmental Protection Agency (WAEPA) is now reviewing the proposal and is offering a seven-day public comment period, with Woodside Energy hoping to start construction on the project later this year.