WA to spend $66 million on renewables projects

THE Western Australian government has committed to spend A$66.3 million on renewable energy projects, as part of its wider economic rescue package to drag the state out of recession.
WA to spend $66 million on renewables projects WA to spend $66 million on renewables projects WA to spend $66 million on renewables projects WA to spend $66 million on renewables projects WA to spend $66 million on renewables projects

Mark Tilly

Journalist

Mark Tilly

"This comprehensive plan will support job-creating sectors including renewable energy, which we know will help reduce energy costs, provide better energy efficiency across the state and improve our energy footprint," WA premier Mark McGowan said. 

The funding will add 50 standalone power systems across the state, including nine battery energy storage systems in nine remote regional communities, along with infrastructure upgrades in remote indigenous communities. 

The government estimates battery systems will reduce energy costs by up to $322,000 per year and create around 20 jobs during design, construction, and installation phases. 

It is also committing a further $10 million to its Clean Energy Future Fund, on top of the $9.4 million already committed, which allows clean energy companies to apply for between $250,000 and $2 million in funding for each project. 

A further $1.8 million worth of solar pv will be installed across 60 bus and rail stations around Perth. 

The government will also install $6 million worth of rooftop solar pv across roughly 500 social housing properties and spend $4 million on turning 10 schools into virtual power plants with rooftop solar pvs and commercial batteries. 

"Schools and public housing will experience lower electricity bills and contribute to reducing their energy footprint as we modernise our power grid," energy minister Bill Johnston said. 

 solarinstaljpg  $1.8 million worth of solar pv will be installed across 60 bus and rail stations around Perth

Many of the announcements were previously suggested by local climate change activist group Clean State, an arm of Conservation Council WA. 

However Clean State had wanted the government to retrofit 45,000 social housing homes with energy efficiency measures, among other, broader intiatives.

The group said it was great to see the government backing a clean-jobs recovery for the state, but said even more could be done. 

"The plan to provide solar panels to 500 social housing homes will provide a glimpse into what could be done to generate jobs, cut power bills, and reduce carbon emissions," Clean State director of research and policy, Chantal Caruso said.

"We look forward to these initiatives being expanded and extended in the future to deliver opportunities for more communities, provide more jobs, and reduce carbon pollution further," 

The plan was also criticised online for not including any plans to develop the state's electric vehicles infrastructure, to which a senior advisor for Johnston responded by tweeting "watch this space". 

Separately, another $60.3 million will be invested in green jobs, including native vegetation rehabilitation, habitat restoration and protection of existing vegetation. 

The overarching $5.5 billion spent by the government aims to create thousands of jobs across the economy, including $60 million on shovel-ready projects. 

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