WA is poised for a renewable energy bonanza with more than $1 billion to be spent on projects that will almost treble the green power in the south-west grid over the next two years.
As the clock counts down to the 2020 deadline for the Federal Government’s renewable energy target, poles-and-wires company Western Power has cleared the way for the final wave of investment needed for WA to meet its obligations.
The State-owned electricity distributor yesterday approved a range of mega renewable energy projects that would collectively add almost 1000MW of capacity to the grid, up from the current amount of about 500MW.
Rooftop solar, installed on households, is separate.
Hundreds of jobs are expected to be created by the rush, with most in the building phase.
Among the eight projects to be offered connections are believed to be Alinta Energy’s $500 million, 210MW Yandin wind farm in the Mid West, along with 100MW-plus solar projects near Cunderdin and Merredin in the Wheatbelt.
Although Western Power declined to comment on the project yesterday, it is understood the changes will also pave the way for the huge Warradarge wind farm north of Cervantes, a project central to plans by power provider Synergy to meet its share of the RET.
The utility invested in new IT systems and changed network access rules that had been holding up projects connecting because capacity on critical transmission lines was contractually taken.
Western Power chief Guy Chalkley said yesterday a new, albeit interim, access arrangement was in place allowing renewable energy generators to plug into the grid. As a trade-off for the deal, those projects would have to agree to have their access “constrained”, meaning they may have their generation wound back at certain times to maintain grid stability.
Mr Chalkley is confident that every project offered access would do so because the financial benefits would outweigh any potential costs associated with being constrained for a fraction of the year.