In an effort to support opportunities for renewable energy projects in Western Australia, the State Government is set to invest more than $700 million in a major network upgrade.
The State Government has said that upgrades to Western Australia’s electricity transmission network are essential to enable large-scale renewable energy generation to connect to the grid, for both domestic use and to facilitate new industries like renewable hydrogen.
The State Government will deliver $575 million to increase capacity of the network’s northern section, including a new 330kV double circuit transmission line between Malaga and Pinjar, enabling massive renewable energy generation projects in the Mid West to connect to the grid.
A further $133 million will be invested towards planning for new lines, reinforcements and upgrades around key industrial areas, including Kwinana and Collie, as well as upgrades between Geraldton and Perth to support development at Oakajee.
The State Government has said that strengthening the northern transmission network is critical, with modelling indicating a ten‑fold increase in renewable generation may be needed to meet future low-emissions electricity demand.
To support this transition, the Western Australian Government will establish PoweringWA to coordinate the delivery of new electricity infrastructure at the pace needed for decarbonisation.
Located within the Department of Energy, Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety, PoweringWA will coordinate the build of transmission, renewable generation, and storage infrastructure.
It will be responsible for planning, community consultation, industry liaison and project management, ensuring appropriate consideration is given to environmental, cultural and social issues, while delivering a reliable and low emissions electricity supply for all users.
Western Australian Premier, Roger Cook, said that there is no energy transition without better transmission.
“This is the largest investment in transmission infrastructure in Western Australia in more than ten years and is an important step in the transformation of our main electricity grid,” Mr Cook said.
“Growing our electricity network is critical to unlocking our renewable energy potential – to reduce our own emissions, and to help countries across the region reduce theirs.
“This investment alone will allow us to slash emissions by around 2.4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, create significant job opportunities in the regions, and put our state on the path to becoming a global renewable energy powerhouse.”
Western Australian Energy Minister, Bill Johnston, said that the State Government understands the need for tangible actions and delivery of infrastructure to support decarbonisation of industry in the South West.
“By upgrading the northern network, we can increase the output of existing wind generation as well as connect around a gigawatt of new wind and solar generation capacity, which is almost double the amount of large-scale renewables currently connected,” Mr Johnston said.
“Working closely with industry and communities, we can ensure our main network delivers a reliable supply of low-emissions electricity to meet our collective decarbonisation goals.”