Australia's Fortescue Metals Group has made a surprising decision to abandon its ambitious plans for a colossal renewable energy project in Western Australia, which was set to represent a multi-billion-dollar investment.
The company has officially halted the approval procedures with Western Australia's Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), and the assessment of its application has been shelved, as indicated on the agency's website. However, specific reasons for this unexpected cancellation have not been disclosed.
The Uaroo Renewable Energy Hub was unveiled by Fortescue just last year, with the primary goal of ensuring a sustainable power supply for the company's mining operations in Western Australia's Pilbara region. The ambitious project aimed to include 340 wind turbines, capable of generating up to 2,040 MW of power, alongside a substantial 3,333 MW solar photovoltaic (PV) installation, and a battery energy storage system with a design capacity of 9,100 MWh. The complex was also intended to encompass the construction of vital infrastructure facilities, situated south of the town of Onslow, on land primarily used for cattle grazing.
Initially, the developer had plans to bring this colossal capacity online in approximately seven years, aligning with its 2030 target to achieve zero Scope 1 and 2 emissions across its Australian iron ore operations. However, a recent statement from Fortescue CEO Dino Otranto revealed a change in direction, with Uaroo now set to support the company's ammonia export aspirations rather than its decarbonization strategy. This shift has raised questions and sparked discussions in the renewable energy community about the changing landscape of energy investments in Australia.