Solar: Western Australia’s next big export

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A pre-feasibility study has found it is technically viable to export solar energy from the Pilbara to the ASEAN region and could be the next big energy export for Western Australia.

A large-scale solar export project could create up to 2,000 jobs in the Pilbara, helping to diversify the region’s economy.

The Pilbara has one of the highest levels of direct solar irradiance on the planet and was identified by the International Energy Agency’s Task 8 Committee as one of the top six locations in the world to develop large-scale solar farms.

Minister for Regional Development, Alannah MacTiernan, said, “The Pilbara has some of the best solar resources in the world – and this report highlights the opportunity we have to sell our sunlight to our Southeast Asian neighbours.

“Exporting solar energy to Asia has the potential to be a valuable addition to the Pilbara’s existing energy mix and would stimulate new economic activity, creating thousands of permanent jobs in the region.

“We now have the evidence to establish dialogue with Indonesia about the potential for a transformational clean energy partnership to take WA’s renewable energy to the world.”

The Pilbara’s other competitive advantages, such as land availability, industrial infrastructure, proximity to Asia and existing investment links, see the region well-placed to supply an efficient and reliable power source to meet rapidly growing demand from Southeast Asia.

The pre-feasibility study develops a scenario detailing the cost to build a three gigawatt solar farm and transmission subsea cable from the Pilbara to Indonesia.

The scenario found a solar export project of this scale could potentially create up to 2,000 permanent jobs in the Pilbara, and more than 12,000 across Western Australia.

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