$708m upgrade to WA network

Tuesday, 21 November, 2023

$708m upgrade to WA network

WA’s Cook government has announced it will invest $708 million in upgrading the state’s transmission infrastructure.

The upgrades will enable large-scale renewable energy generation to connect to the grid, for both domestic use and to facilitate new industries like renewable hydrogen. With modelling indicating that a tenfold increase in renewable generation may be needed to meet future low-emissions electricity demand, strengthening the northern transmission network is critical, the government said.

“This government understands the need for tangible actions and delivery of infrastructure to support decarbonisation of industry in the South West,” said Energy Minister Bill Johnston.

“By upgrading the northern network, we can increase the output of existing wind generation as well as connect around a gigawatt of new wind and solar generation capacity, which is almost double the amount of large-scale renewables currently connected.

“Working closely with industry and communities, we can ensure our main network delivers a reliable supply of low-emissions electricity to meet our collective decarbonisation goals.”

$575 million will go towards increasing the capacity of the network’s northern section, including a new 330 kV double circuit transmission line between Malaga and Pinjar, enabling massive renewable energy generation projects in the Mid-West to connect to the grid.

A further $133 million will be invested towards planning for new lines, reinforcements and upgrades around key industrial areas including Kwinana and Collie, as well as upgrades between Geraldton and Perth to support development at Oakajee.

“This is the largest investment in transmission infrastructure in WA in more than 10 years and is an important step on the transformation of our main electricity grid,” said Premier Roger Cook.

“Growing our electricity network is critical to unlocking our renewable energy potential — to reduce our own emissions, and to help countries across the region reduce theirs.”

The government will establish a new body, PoweringWA, to coordinate the delivery of new electricity infrastructure at the pace needed for decarbonisation.

Located within the Department of Energy, Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety, PoweringWA will coordinate the build of transmission, renewable generation and storage infrastructure.

It will be responsible for planning, community consultation, industry liaison and project management, ensuring appropriate consideration is given to environmental, cultural and social issues, while delivering a reliable and low-emissions electricity supply for all users.

Image credit: iStock.com/georgeclerk

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