Industry welcomes WA Whole of System Plan

Transmission tower and high-voltage lines (projects)
A transmission tower (Image: Shutterstock)

Energy Networks Australia and the Clean Energy Council have welcomed the launch of Western Australia’s Whole of System Plan.

Energy Networks Australia CEO Andrew Dillon said the Western Australian Government was to be congratulated for developing the comprehensive roadmap to support WA’s renewable energy transition.

“Western Australia has one of the nation’s highest rates of rooftop solar uptake and the Plan notes this is growing rapidly and will continue to displace coal,” he said.

“This is great news for carbon emission reductions, but it comes with challenges to keep the electricity system secure and reliable.

“Western Power is already delivering innovations highlighted in the Plan, such as community batteries to provide local support for the grid and more reliable supply for customers.

“We expect to see more network batteries deployed across the country to keep grids stable and allow more solar to connect.

“WA is to be congratulated for leading the way on community batteries.

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“This comprehensive plan is a vital part of ensuring WA’s customers get maximum benefit for lowest cost into the future.”

Clean Energy Council CEO Kane Thornton said the state is making tremendous gains in its efforts to increase the role of renewable energy and this plan will ensure the transition is well-managed and least-cost.

“Western Australia has traditionally lagged behind the eastern states when it comes to renewable energy, but it’s really starting to make up ground off the back of innovation in the use of distributed energy resources, with one in three households having rooftop solar,” Mr Thornton said.

“I’d like to congratulate the Western Australian Government for its proactive efforts to embrace clean energy. It has resulted in a rapid transformation across both small- and large-scale renewable energy and, most recently, plans were unveiled for a 100 MW big battery to help stabilise the state’s energy needs.”

Importantly, coal-fired generation will decline under all four scenarios in the Whole of System Plan modelling, and the emissions intensity of electricity production will decrease in all scenarios.

“Western Australia boasts world-class wind resources and to see wind generation as the preferred form of new large-scale capacity in all scenarios, ranging from 60 MW to over 3000 MW at the highest demand scenario, means that the state will harness its significant clean energy advantages to keep energy prices low for all energy users,” Mr Thornton said.

The Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA) also welcomed WA’s Whole of System Plan, stating it recognised the ongoing role of natural gas to power the state’s “way of life”.

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“Gas plays an important role in a low emission future, enabling renewable energy power generation to grow whilst also ensuring baseload power can be provided by gas generation when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow,” APPEA’s WA Director Claire Wilkinson said.

The report notes that in 2020 gas remains the largest capacity provider, accounting for 52 per cent of large-scale generation, and one of the 10 key findings of the report notes the use of gas as supporting the growth in intermittent power generation, such as that resulting from solar and wind.

“WA is not only blessed by plenty of sun and wind, but also sizeable reserves of natural gas. It puts us in the box seat to lower our emissions but also ensures we have a strong and reliable electricity system to prevent the risk of brown outs or black outs that have beset electricity systems in other states during high demand periods,” Ms Wilkinson said.

“Quite simply, natural gas is an essential part of our everyday lives in WA, powering our homes, school, hospitals and other industries like mining and manufacturing. Supporting the responsible development of future gas resources, including those onshore in Western Australia, will be important to supporting our jobs and economy of the future.”

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