Pilot Energy’s plans to develop a 1,100MW offshore wind project alongside onshore wind and solar farms on the Western Australian coast have gained momentum this week after the oil and gas explorer signed a joint venture deal with fellow Perth resources outfit Triangle Energy.
The deal, which centres mostly on Triangle taking a majority share in Pilot’s Perth Basin oil exploration permit, will also see the two companies work together to develop the Cliff Head Wind and Solar Project Joint Venture, combining their assets, infrastructure and expertise.
In this part of the deal, the two companies will assess the feasibility and pursue the development of an offshore wind and onshore wind and solar power project centered around Triangle’s Cliff Head Offshore Oil Field production facilities and onshore processing facilities.
As RenewEconomy reported in September, Pilot has been looking into the feasibility of the massive renewable energy hub, which would take advantage of high quality wind and solar resources at the Cliff Head site, while drawing on the company’s rights to offshore oil and gas exploration.
In an ASX statement this week, Pilot said the two company’s had since developed a “conceptual” layout for a four-stage development for up to 1.1 GW of offshore wind power generation that maximised the overall potential of the offshore wind farm development.
“This is the next stage of the process to establish the overall feasibility of the development of a large-scale offshore wind and onshore wind and solar project building off the world-class wind and solar resources of the Mid West Region of Western Australia,” said Pilot chair Brad Lingo.
The proposal locates the offshore wind turbines at least 14km offshore and in water depths of between 20-40 meters, all within the area covered by the Cliff Head Production License and Pilot’s Offshore Exploration Permit WA-481-P.
A 160-hectare onshore site, as part of Pilot Energy’s existing operations, has been earmarked for for the installation of a solar farm.
In its statement, Pilot said that the development of the Cliff Head Wind and Solar Project and the location of the offshore wind farm facilities was intended to deliver a “significant multi-tasking” of the existing offshore oil production facilities, such as had been done in Europe.
Lingo said the the new partnership between the two companies – with Triangle as the only established offshore production operator in the Perth Basin and the Mid West Coast Region of W.A – was directly aligned with Pilot’s renewable energy plans.
“This is exactly the type of development that demonstrates the ability to substantially redefine how the Australian offshore oil and gas industry can, in parallel with existing operations, participate in a low carbon future through offshore renewable energy projects delivering substantial low cost energy to Western Australia,” Lingo said.
“The substantial nature of the offshore opportunity in Western Australian also presents the option to supply renewable hydrogen to international markets,” he added.
“Pilot strongly believes that focussing on the energy transition provides the opportunity to deliver strong growth and significant shareholder value.”
In a separate ASX statement, Triangle managing director Rob Towner said the oil company was “well aware” of what was happening in the energy world “with many major players investing in the transition from conventional energy to renewables.
“These agreements with Pilot will facilitate Triangle’s first foray into assessing the feasibility of a renewables project that would also utilise Triangle’s existing offshore (Cliff Head platform and pipeline route) and onshore (Arrowsmith) infrastructure,” Towner said.
“This infrastructure is likely to be critical to a successful offshore wind and onshore solar project, and would be a pioneering project in Western Australia for a company of Triangle’s size.”