Iberdrola will enter Asia for the first time with plans for a 320MW wind-solar hybrid project in Australia.

The Spanish group – already among the world’s largest renewable energy operators with 31GW in place – said it has amassed a 650MW Australian pipeline after “spending several years studying opportunities there”,

It wants to have its first projects up and running in as soon as 2021, starting with the wind-PV project in the Spencer Gulf region of South Australia, which will cost about A$500m ($339m) to build.

Iberdrola’s existing fleet, dominated by onshore wind and hydropower, but also including offshore wind, and more recently solar, is focused on Europe and the Americas.

The group in July said it would beat its renewables installation target for 2022, and CEO Ignacio Galan told investors after its latest results that a investment “virtuous circle” offers room for further growth.

Iberdrola director of renewable energy Xabier Viteri said: “Renewable energy has increased its market share considerably in Australia in recent years. There’s tremendous potential for further growth.

“Like a lot of countries, we see increasing demand from the public and businesses for their energy to come from clean sources. When you have that demand, coupled with abundant natural resources for high-performance wind and solar, it creates a highly attractive market to invest in.”

Australia has rapidly emerged as one of the world’s most dynamic renewable energy markets thanks to demand for clean power, wide open spaces for large-scale development and some excellent resources for both wind and PV.

It is home to a clutch of ground-breaking hybrid, and hybrid storage projects, including a ground-breaking Tesla battery and ambitious plans to pipe power to other parts of Asia via undersea cables.

That status has come despite a notably climate-sceptical national government, thanks to supportive policies from Australia’s states.