SOLAR PROJECTS —
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
(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?
ALANNAH MacTIERNAN replied:
I thank the member for the
(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.
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.