Greening WA’s mines: first round of grants awards two mines $2.6 million to install solar


The McGowan government today announced it had awarded grants of $1 million to Nomadic Energy and a further $1.6 million to ResourcesWA to install solar panel at its respective mines. The announcement marks the first allocation from the state government’s $19 million Clean Energy Future Fund, which has been criticised for drawing its royalties from ‘unconventional onshore oil and gas projects,’ a euphemism for fracking.

With its grant from WA’s Future Fund, Nomadic Energy will install 5 MW worth of modular, re-deployable solar panels at Saracen’s Carosue Dam gold mine. “The flexibility to redeploy the solar panels removes a key barrier to using green energy at mine sites, where a mine may cease operating before the cost of the solar panels has been recovered,” the government said in its statement.

ResourcesWA will install 30 MW of solar power at its Homestead mine site in the Goldfields, supplying power to the Paddington Mill and Mungari Mill sites. It will also install 10 MW and 5 MW batteries at each of the mills respectively, both with one hour of storage. The intention is to reduce the impact of outages and support Western Power’s local substation.

Combined, the installations are expected to generate 77,000 MWh of electricity each year.

“Nomadic Energy and ResourceWA were chosen for the high value they provide, their capacity to reduce emissions, potential for wider adoption, innovation and financial viability,” Environment Minister, Stephen Dawson, said.

Where projects to reduce the emissions at facilities in regional areas were prioritised in the first round of grants, with the state government funding up to 25% of eligible project costs, the second round of grants will “prioritise clean energy projects that reduce emissions, create jobs, improve security and reliability of supply, or support the replacement of diesel use.” Applications for round 2 of the Clean Energy Future Fund will open on Monday January 25, with a total of up to $16 million available in the fund.

The Clean Energy Future Fund, launched in April 2020, is part of the state’s net zero by 2050 target as well as its Covid-19 economic recovery plan. Over the life of the two projects funded by the grants, around 365 construction jobs and 22 ongoing jobs are expected to be created.

“With over 385 construction and operational jobs expected to be created during the life of the two projects, it’s clear that clean energy industries are an important source of future employment opportunities, particularly in regional WA,” Energy Minister, Bill Johnston, said in a statement.

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