GREEN ENERGY BOOM GOES BEYOND GRID EXPANSION, EXPERT WARNS
Investing in energy storage solutions, fast-tracking projects, and committing to expertise and training are all crucial if WA hopes to handle the green energy boom outlined this week by WA Energy Minister Bill Johnston.
Responding to the report Demand Assessment for the South West Interconnected System, WA energy expert Adam Gangemi says the vision must go beyond an expanded grid.
“While expanding the grid is a step in the right direction, government red tape, a lack of resources, skill shortages and project complexity all have the potential to derail the vision for a more sustainable energy future,” Mr Gangemi said.
“Delays in project completion are all too common in the power sector, causing budget blow-outs and significant financial losses for private investment, while slowing the transition to renewable energy and resulting in further environmental damage.
“The process of obtaining permits and approvals can be lengthy and frustrating, but a streamlined approach is needed if it is to be efficient and effective.”
“The transition to renewable energy sources is a complex process requiring the installation of new infrastructure and the integration of new technologies, as well as energy storage solutions to ensure energy is available when it is needed.
“As well as eliminating bureaucratic hurdles, the government must ensure the right expertise is available to oversee the transition and ensure projects are completed on time.
“Investment in training and incentives is imperative if we are to attract the high-calibre workers needed and compete with the lure of the mining industry,” Mr Gangemi said.
Demand for renewable energy from the SWIS is expected to skyrocket as industry and government move towards net zero emissions by 2050.
Initial government modelling anticipates an additional 7.2GW of new industry electricity demand would occur in the SWIS by 2042, which could require up to 51.1GW of new generation and storage capacity to supply it. This is almost 10 times the amount of generation capacity currently on the SWIS.
The State budget will include $126 million to kickstart investment in the grid, which is anticipated to need an extra 4,000kms to connect industrial users with new renewable energy projects and unlock constrained areas of the SWIS.