The Conservation Council of WA (CCWA) has welcomed federal funding to support greater investment in renewable energy for WA’s electricity network.
In a deal between the WA State Government and the Australian Federal Government, up to $3 billion in concessional loans and investments will be provided to finance new builds and major upgrades to Western Australia’s two major electricity grids – the South West Interconnected System (SWIS) and the North West Interconnected System (NWIS).
The SWIS – which covers an area between Kalbarri, Perth, Albany and Kalgoorlie – is WA’s main electricity network and provides power to more than one million homes and businesses. According to the state government, the SWIS will be expected to carry five times more electricity than is currently available. The new funds will be used to increase the supply of renewable energy to meet future demand.
The NWIS – in the Pilbara region – is comprised primarily of ‘standalone networks’ owned by private companies and public bodies. Less than two per cent of the electricity currently carried by the NWIS is generated from renewables.
According to the state government, the new Rewiring the Nation deal will ‘unlock economic development and speed up decarbonisation by bringing on more renewable energy and sharing it more efficiently across different users.’
In a speech in Perth on Tuesday morning, the Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, said “Australia has an energy grid built for a time when solar panels powered pocket calculators and not households.
“Western Australia is helping power our economy. Our government is going to invest in powering Western Australia.”
Jayde Rowlands, Better Climate Program Manager at CCWA, said: “The quickest route to decarbonisation is to rapidly phase out fossil fuels and that means much more investment in genuine clean, green renewable energy.
“This is another positive step towards upgrading our electricity network with the technologies which will future proof the grid for decades to come.
“Western Australia is better placed than almost anywhere else in the world to take advantage of the renewable energy transition. We’re blessed with plentiful sun and wind resources and space in which to develop our own home-grown renewables powerhouse.
“We look forward to seeing similar announcements from the state and federal governments in recognition of WA’s unique position as the prospective renewable energy capital of Australia.”