The Australian Government has awarded a contract for work to begin on a detailed assessment of the renewable energy potential of the Mid-West and Pilbara regions of WA.
Evans and Peck, the successful tenderer for the Western Australia Regional Renewable Energy Assessment, will deliver a study to address some of the barriers to investment in remote off-grid and end-of-grid areas that have only patchy access to the electricity grid.
Resources and Energy Minister, Martin Ferguson said the state’s large distance and dispersed energy needs create challenges for energy supply.
However he said it also creates opportunities to use renewable energy sources to meet this demand.
“Renewable energy may offer a real solution in terms of supplying electricity to power some of WA’s remote farms, mines and communities,” he said.
According to the minister the study will assess the most economically viable renewable energy technologies in the region and identify the constraints to their deployment.
It will also look at the future electricity demand profile for the region to see what network infrastructure might be required or if this can be met through renewable sources.
“This assessment will give us a clearer picture of where the potential is, what the obstacles are and how we can best address them,” Minister Ferguson said.
“Western Australia has some of the best renewable energy sources in Australia ranging from solar, ocean, wind and geothermal, yet has the lowest renewable energy capacity among the states.
He said the report will help unlock some of the possible solutions to greater investment in the region and identify measures to make renewable technologies more viable in these remote regions.
The Australian Centre for Renewable Energy (ACRE) is funding the study and similar studies are being considered for other regions.
ACRE is a central point of contact for companies looking to invest in renewable energy and enabling technologies.
It’s a part of the Australian Government’s five billion dollar Clean Energy Initiative which is supporting the development and deployment of low emissions and renewable energy technologies.