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Parliamentary Questions

Question Without Notice No. 351 asked in the Legislative Council on 10 April 2019 by Hon Peter Collier

Parliament: 40 Session: 1

Answered on

SOLAR PROJECTS — GOLDFIELDS

351. Hon PETER COLLIER to the Minister for Regional Development:

I refer to the goldfields solar energy project summary report dated May 2018.

(1) Given the report finds that a large-scale solar development is highly unlikely, is the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development undertaking any further work regarding energy issues in Kalgoorlie?

(2) If yes to (1), what work is the department currently undertaking?

(3) What are the options to facilitate a large-scale solar project using the power of the Mining Act 1978 referred to in the report?

(4) What land tenure changes are required, and what work, if any, is underway regarding these land tenure changes?

Hon ALANNAH MacTIERNAN replied:

I thank the member for the question.

(1) Although the preliminary assessment did identify a number of challenges to large-scale solar development in the goldfields, it also set out a number of options that could support solar projects in the short, medium and long term. These options are being pursued by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development.

(2) The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development has prepared a proposal for a virtual power plant in Kalgoorlie–Boulder and has commenced working with the relevant lands agencies to identify opportunities to unlock land for large-scale solar development.

(3) The Mining Act 1978 allows for the development of power generation and transmission facilities on mining leases, provided the generation is used for the sole purpose of mining operations approved under that lease, which could free up network capacity for other users and create broader benefits for the region.

(4) Work is underway by other agencies and local government into the potential for crown land to be made available for industrial purposes, possibly including renewable energy, and to identify possible sites for future projects. The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development is also working with key stakeholders to investigate parcels of pastoral land that could be excised for the development of large-scale solar projects.