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SYDNEY: Fossil fuel giant BP revealed Wednesday it was taking a 40.5 percent stake in an Australian energy project being billed as one of the world’s largest renewable power stations.

BP said it would operate the $36 billion “Asian Renewable Energy Hub”, an array of solar and wind facilities sprawled over 6,500 square kilometres (2,509 square miles) of Australia’s sparsely populated west coast.

The project is expected to have a generating capacity of 26 gigawatts, exceeding China’s vast Three Gorges hydroelectric dam — which is by some measures the world’s largest existing power station.

It would also produce 1.6 million tonnes of green hydrogen each year, with plans to export much of this to major Asia-Pacific markets such as Japan and South Korea.

The hub was first proposed in 2014 as a large-scale wind and solar renewable energy project, and has been slowly going through the process of site surveys and approvals ever since.

The arrival of a major player like BP — and the election of a new pro-renewables Australian government — is likely to give the project a shot in the arm. Anja-Isabel Dotzenrath, BP’s executive vice president of gas and low carbon energy, said the company believed that “Australia has the potential to be a powerhouse in the global energy transition”.

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