The Western Australian Government has announced a new exemption order, which aims to slash renewable energy project times and grant land access to be leased to renewable energy proponents while proposals are being assessed by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA).
The exemption order under the Environmental Protection Act 1986 will not impact the current environmental assessment processes under the Act.
The new streamlined approvals pathway is part of the State Government’s $22.5 million commitment to the ‘Green Energy Approvals Initiative’ to drive investment in wind and solar power, green hydrogen, lithium mining, critical minerals processing and manufacturing, along with recycling green energy products.
More than $3 billion was allocated in the most recent State Budget to initiatives that will diversify the economy and help transition Western Australia to a clean energy future.
The streamlined approvals process builds on a number of initiatives Western Australia is undertaking to tackle climate change and achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
Western Australia Minister for the Environment, Reece Whitby, said that the new approvals process for renewable energy projects is part of the Government’s commitment to developing creative, collaborative approaches to support decarbonisation in Western Australia.
“We have listened to the feedback from proponents and investors, and found an innovative approach to ensure these renewable energy projects are able to progress in a timely manner,” Mr Whitby said.
“We are not making any changes to the due diligence or responsibilities of the EPA – or the Minister for Lands through this reform – these changes will simply reduce Government approvals timeframes for projects that can meet their environmental requirements, while preserving the due diligence and responsibilities required by the EPA.”
State Minister for Land, John Carey, said that the state is on track to become a global green energy superpower.
“This new class exemption builds on the Western Australian Government’s commitment to streamline approvals, and cut green tape for the State’s renewable energy to deliver new jobs and diversify our economy,” Mr Carey said.
“Along with harnessing our exceptional renewable energy resources, providing access to Crown land is one of many ways we are facilitating more clean energy production, while creating skilled local jobs for the future.
“This new streamlined process means the Government can provide renewable energy proponents greater confidence to invest here – further highlighting WA’s leading role in a decarbonised future.”