The state government said the assessment process will help it understand future demand for renewable electricity supply on the South West Interconnected System (SWIS), as a growing number of industries and businesses seek to decarbonise through electrification.
The SWIS starts north in Kalbarri, extends through Perth down to Albany in the south and out to Kalgoorlie in the east. Recognised as one of the largest isolated grids in the world, the SWIS serves most of the state’s population, with more than 1.1 million customers.
Treasurer Mark McGowan said the assessment of the network will be an essential tool in the state achieving a smooth and orderly transition towards net zero by 2050.
“As the world decarbonises, it’s important we give local businesses the certainty and stability they need,” he said. “It’s important we act now to achieve an orderly transition in our electricity network to avoid the kind of situations seen elsewhere in the nation.”
An interim assessment will be undertaken ahead of the next Whole of System Plan, which is required by 2025.
Energy Minister Bill Johnston said the SWIS Demand Assessment will gather information from industry about the size, location and timeframe of anticipated electricity demand to 2030 and beyond.
“The McGowan government has already committed to the closure of state-owned coal power stations by 2030, and an investment of $3.8 billion in wind generation and storage,” he said.
“It is expected more investments will be made into renewable energy from across the whole economy in years to come.
“Western Power’s network will be the backbone that supports decarbonisation in the south-west of Western Australia, helping connect industry to renewable energy sources.”
“Industry has told us they need to decarbonise quickly and I’m pleased to explore how the network could support their ambition through the expedited SWIS Demand Assessment.”
The Treasury-led taskforce will include the Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Energy Policy WA, the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation, and Western Power. The government said the information collected will also be used to inform the electricity Sectoral Emissions Reduction Strategies.
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