Kimberley aerial view, WA
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Horizon Power is seeking expressions of interest (EOI) for a long-term power purchase agreement (PPA) to supply towns in the Kimberley, as part of its Kimberley FES (Future Energy System) project.

As set out in the EOI documents, the project specifies supplying electricity to the Kimberley towns of Broome, Derby, Halls Creek and Fitzroy Crossing and the Looma-Camballin community, for at least 20 years beginning in 2027. 

The project falls under Horizon Power’s Integrated Resource Planning framework, which sees the utility engage with local communities and Traditional Owners to determine long-term energy solutions that best meet their needs. 

Horizon Power said it needs to work to balance the demand, reliability and future energy needs of towns with the voices and opinions of those who help make it a community.

Horizon Power currently purchases electricity from a company that specialises in generating power in the Kimberley. It then uses its network to supply electricity to all houses and businesses in the specified towns and communities.

Environs Kimberley, the Kimberley’s peak environmental organisation, welcomed the announcement and said the project will help to pave the way for a renewable energy guarantee. 

For Broome and Derby, the renewable energy guarantee would consist of at least 80 per cent renewable energy, likely to be primarily produced from solar with storage. 

Environs Kimberley Director of Strategy, Martin Pritchard, said that Horizon Power’s Kimberley FES project would be a boon for Kimberley communities. 

“This is a breakthrough for the Kimberley region. After years of watching LNG being trucked up to Broome from the Pilbara and burnt in the local gas-fired power station to supply the bulk of Broome’s electricity and seeing diesel generators relied on in the other towns, we are at last seeing the transition away from dirty, expensive fossil fuels to clean, lower-cost renewable energy. 

“The Broome Clean Energy Report, commissioned by Environs Kimberley and produced by Sustainable Energy Now in 2023, estimated that more than 80 per cent of Broome’s electricity generation could be achieved with renewable energy at three quarters of the price of gas-fired generation. It is very rewarding to see those findings picked up in this project. 

“In a region with as much sun as the Kimberley has, it is a no-brainer to switch to a largely renewable grid. We also welcome the requirement in the EOI documents that participants ‘exclude electricity supply solutions that utilise fossil fuel generation as the primary source of electricity generation’. 

“Of course, there may continue to be a need for a small supply of gas or diesel as back-up, at least for the time being, but to go from where we are now to 80 per cent renewables in Broome and Derby is fantastic. 

“Environs Kimberley will be watching this process closely to ensure there is no slippage in meeting the renewables guarantee or allowing fossil fuel companies to game the system,” Mr Pritchard said.

Image: https://www.shutterstock.com/g/paulmichaelNZ

Assistant Editor, Utility magazine

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