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Parliamentary Questions

Question Without Notice No. 779 asked in the Legislative Council on 12 September 2018 by Hon Robin Scott

Minister responding: Hon M. McGowan
Parliament: 40 Session: 1

Answered on 12 September 2018


779. Hon ROBIN SCOTT to the minister representing the Minister for State Development, Jobs and Trade:

(1) Is the minister aware that the project director of the Asian renewable energy hub has been quoted in the 12 September 2018 edition of the Pilbara News to this effect —

''I think this will be the first of its kind on the planet, so what we are developing is the world's largest wind–solar hybrid project and by the time we're finished it will be one of the largest power stations on the planet,'' �

(2) Will the minister table the business case for this plan to sell electricity to Indonesia and Vietnam?

(3) Will the minister assure the house that no taxpayers' money will be committed to this delusional plan to export electricity to Indonesia and Vietnam by undersea cable?


I thank the member for the question.

(1)–(3) Yes, I am aware of the project. I must say that I am very surprised that the member does not share the enthusiasm for us unleashing the Pilbara's potential for mass solar. It is important to understand that the International Energy Agency's Task 8 committee has identified the Pilbara as one of the top six locations in the world to develop large-scale solar farms. These are happening around the world. It would absolutely amaze me that we would not want to be in there, ensuring that Western Australia and the people of the Pilbara got a share of the action.

This is a private sector project. We do not ask private sector projects to develop business cases to be examined by government. This is a private sector project and there has been no request for government assistance. The organisation was granted lead project status a few months ago, so it is now an officially recognised project. The development of the subsea cable is just one possible part of that proposal. I suggest that the member might want to have a look at the real improvements in technology happening around the world with these high voltage direct current cables. They are being built, linking Africa to Europe and western China to eastern China. There is no reason to think that we cannot explore these. As I understand it, this project will also look at supplying the local market for three gigawatts up to nine gigawatts. There is also the capability that it may not be a subsea cable; hydrogen may be exported by ship to our Asian markets. This is a very exciting project and I think we should be encouraging the companies that want to get out there and invest in Western Australia to do this.