RENEWABLE ENERGY POLICY
990. Hon TIM CLIFFORD to the minister representing the
Minister for Energy:
I refer to the Climate Council's
report ''Powering Progress: States Renewable Energy Race'', which
shows WA trailing the rest of the nation in renewable energy generation.
(1) When will the government outline
its policy to increase renewable energy generation?
(2) As the
leaders of the only state without a renewable energy and/or net zero emissions
target, why will the government not commit to a renewable energy target?
(3) Is the
government alarmed that nearly all other states are outperforming WA in
renewable energy regeneration; and, if not, why not?
STEPHEN DAWSON replied:
I thank the honourable member for
some notice of the question.
(1) The McGowan
government's policy to support the smooth transition to more
sustainable and affordable energy, including
greater use of renewable energy, was clear in its pre-election policy platform
and can be seen in the government's actions. To give just a few
examples, the government is supporting Synergy and its joint venture partners
to develop the Warradarge wind farm and the expansion of the Greenough River
solar farm; the Wave Energy Research Centre and Carnegie's wave energy
project in Albany; the development of the state's lithium and new
battery materials industry; the development of a new renewable hydrogen
industry; and a virtual power plant trial in the goldfields. Renewable energy
already plays an increasingly important role in our power supply. In fact, over
a quarter of Western Australian households have installed a rooftop
photovoltaic system. When counted together, rooftop solar photovoltaic is now
the single largest generator in the south west interconnected system, providing
some 928 megawatts of solar capacity according to the latest estimates.
McGowan government recognises that Australia has made international commitments
to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 26 per cent from 2005 levels. Western
Australia will need to play its part in helping to meet these international
commitments. The energy sector not only is a major source of greenhouse gas
emissions, but also offers some of the lowest cost abatement opportunities. The
legislated national renewable energy target requirements remain in place.
Despite the commonwealth government's recent decision to abandon the
national energy guarantee, the McGowan government considers that a national
approach remains the most efficient and effective way to deliver on Australia's
international commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including through
the increased participation of renewables in the electricity market.
(3) No. It is
worth noting that the emissions intensity of electricity generation in Western Australia
is substantially lower than in Australia as a whole, or in the national
electricity market, due to Western Australia using a greater proportion of
natural gas and a lesser proportion of coal for electricity generation. For
example, figures provided by the Public Utilities Office, based on a variety of
national data sources and estimates, show that in 2016 emissions intensity in
the south west integrated system was estimated to be approximately 0.64 tonnes
of carbon dioxide emissions against an emissions intensity of the national
electricity market of approximately 0.87 tonnes of CO2e.
The McGowan government has
commissioned modelling to examine how the mix of electricity generation
facilities in the south west interconnected system is likely to change over the
next 20 years. This will help the government make informed decisions to enable
timely and efficient investment in new generation capacity and assist the
transition to cleaner electricity, while also maintaining system security and
reliability. The McGowan government is consulting with industry to implement
several important reform initiatives that will modernise the structure and
design of the energy market to deliver cleaner, more affordable electricity to
all customers. The principal reform in this respect is the move to constrained
access for the Western Power grid, which will make it much easier and less
costly for large-scale renewable generation projects to get off the ground.
Proposed changes to the wholesale electricity market arrangements will also
allow increased opportunities for participation by renewables and other
emerging technologies such as battery storage to contribute to a more secure,
reliable and cost-effective electricity system.
PRESIDENT: A reasonably concise question but a not so concise answer.