Australia rejects $36 bln wind, solar, hydrogen project

MELBOURNE, June 21 (Reuters) - The Australian government has rejected plans for a $36 billion wind, solar and hydrogen project in Western Australia, leaving what would have been one of the world’s largest green energy projects in limbo for now.

In a decision dated June 15, published on the environment department’s website, Environment Minister Sussan Ley ruled that the project, the Asian Renewable Energy Hub (AREH), “will have clearly unacceptable impacts” on internationally recognised wetlands and migratory species.

The AREH project was designed to initially build 15 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy capacity, eventually to be expanded to 26 GW and produce green hydrogen and ammonia for export.

The government had awarded the project fast-track approval status last September, touting the jobs, clean energy for local industry and large-scale export opportunity that it would bring.

An AREH spokesperson had no immediate comment on the environment minister’s decision.

Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell