A $2.8 billion package for energy storage, wind power generation, and transmission network upgrades along Western Australia’s main electricity grid is contained in the state’s 2023-24 Budget.
The funding includes $2.3 billion specifically for battery storage systems along the South-West Interconnected System (SWIS) and $368 million to support up to 210MW of renewable energy projects.
The renewable energy and battery storage projects supported in the 2023-24 state Budget, released on Thursday, partially deliver on the $3.8 billion commitment to green energy made last year.
Battery project funding will support a 500MW battery at Collie, expected to be operational by the end of 2025, and the 200MW Kwinana Battery Energy Storage System Two. Both batteries are expected to provide four hours of storage.
The $368 million for 210MW of large-scale renewable energy generation projects will serve households and businesses. Projects include a new wind farm at King Rocks and a potential expansion of Bright Energy Investments’ existing 180MW Warradarge Wind Farm near Eneabba.
In June 2022, the state government announced it would stop operating coal fired power stations, including the Collie Power Station in late-2027, and would instead fund wind farms, battery storage, and feasibility studies into pumped hydro and hydrogen projects.
According to the SWIS demand assessment, released on Tuesday, energy demand by 2042 could require up to 51.1GW of new renewable generation and storage capacity, equivalent to almost 10 times the current SWIS generation capacity.
On Tuesday, the state government announced that the state Budget would include $126 million for state-owned grid operator Western Power to undertake planning work and purchase long-lead items for initial upgrades in the north network, which is expected to see a boom in new energy projects.
Premier Mark McGowan said the “major investment” would decarbonise the grid and ensure the electricity system is “stable and reliable” as state-owned coal-fired power stations are decommissioned.
State Energy minister Bill Johnston described it as a “critical step” in transitioning the grid to a low-emissions, renewable future.
“The McGowan government’s significant investments in wind generation, storage and transmission infrastructure in this state Budget are a critical step forward in that transition. Keeping the electricity grid reliable and secure remains the state government’s priority for energy,” Mr Johnston said.
“This significant investment in battery storage in this Budget will ensure new renewable generation is ‘firmed’ so electricity supply can always meet demand in an increasingly green grid.”
The state government has committed to cut emissions from state operations by 80 per cent below 2020 levels by 2030. Its target for renewable hydrogen use for electricity generation is one per cent by 2030.
A broader use-agnostic renewable hydrogen target is currently being developed.
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