Western Australia Minister for Regional Development Brendon Grylls
Western Australia Minister for Energy Peter Collier
State Government Support For Mid-West Solar Project
Victor P Taffa
Western Australia’s Mid-West Region will soon become home to the biggest Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Project in the Nation.
Energy Minister Peter Collier and Regional Development Minister Brendon Grylls have announced the State Government funding for the development of the 10 Megawatt Facility.
Managed by Verve Energy, the Project will also deliver WA the first utility-scale Solar Farm in Australia.
Addressing the Energy in WA Conference today, Mr Collier said the facility, which was expected to be completed within 12 months, would demonstrate and test solar PV generation in WA on a Commercial Scale.
“Demonstration of the technology will facilitate the development of larger projects in the future and is likely to reduce renewable electricity costs in the medium to long term.” The Minister said.
“This project will add to the increasingly diverse mix of renewable energy generation in WA.”
“The Mid-West has excellent solar resources and the scale and nature of this project mean it will be able to supply electricity to the South West Interconnected System.”
“In addition, the project is expected to encourage future private investment in solar technology by identifying unintended barriers in existing approvals, regulatory and market processes, so they can be rectified.”
Mr. Collier said a Preferred Photovoltaic Supplier and Construction Partner had been chosen and negotiations to secure land were well advanced.
The Project will be expandable up to 40MW as Transmission Capacity becomes available and component costs reduced, with both production scale and improvements in PV Technology.
Mr. Grylls said the Development would be built as a Public-Private Partnership at a cost of $58 Million, with $20 Million State Government contribution, including $10 Million from the Royalties for Regions fund.
“The maintenance and operation of the project will provide local employment, but more importantly, it is expected to draw national and international interest.” the Minister said.
“Identifying the Mid-West with a cutting edge utility-scale solar plant is likely to have many spin-off benefits for surrounding communities while the region’s renewable resources will make the project even more of a drawcard for subsequent developments.” Mr. Grylls said.
Mr. Collier said the Government was pressing ahead to increase investment in renewable energy development in the State.
“There are excellent prospects for renewable energy in WA and demand for clean energy is expected to increase in coming decades.” Mr. Collier said.
“WA is well-placed to achieve its share of the national target of 20 % renewable energy generation by 2020.” Mr. Collier said.