"Western Power will buy up to 100,000 renewable energy certificates (RECs) per year for 10 years from 2006 to meet its targets. A renewable energy certificate is 'earned' by renewable energy generators and is calculated as one MW/h of eligible renewable generation," he said.
"Buying certificates from renewable energy generators effectively subsidises the establishment of new renewable energy projects that traditionally suffer from high generating costs compared to conventional large-scale power plants.
"There are many renewable energy projects on the drawing board in Western Australia but there are often financial, technical and market hurdles in the way of them becoming a more important part of total energy production," said Ripper.
"Western Power's commitment to purchase certificates from renewable generators guarantees an income stream that will make generating costs more competitive for renewable generators."
Ripper added that the certificates would be worth between $8 and $10 million per year over ten years from 2006, and the energy produced will be equivalent to a project about 30% larger than the Albany wind farm - currently WA's largest.
Combined with existing procurement models the new project may boost the amount of privately-owned renewable generation in Western Australia by as much as 60 megawatts.
Bids for Western Power's first renewable energy certificate procurement program will close on December 22, 2003 and contract negotiations with the preferred bidders are expected to begin early in the New Year.