WA Liberal Leader and Shadow Minister for Energy Dr David Honey MLA said today’s announcement from the State Government regarding the closure of Collie’s two coal-fired power stations by the end of the decade must come with a commitment to provide power to an already neglected electrical grid system.
Dr Honey said the announcement, which also included a promise to invest $3.8 billion into renewable power generation across the grid system is welcome but needs to outline specific projects much sooner to keep up with the station closures in the next few years.
“While WA needs to look toward renewable options, there needs to be a plan in place to ensure reliable power for Western Australians, not just glittery announcements.
“Investing in a renewable future is essential for WA, but that also means we need actual projects, such as hydrogen projects which I have been advocating increased funding for.
“Hydrogen is the primary energy source for the future, but we have seen projects like the would-be Oakajee Hydrogen Hub – currently an overgrown paddock – which was promised by the State Government over a year ago and could provide such power, being neglected and left as an empty lot.
“Today, Energy Minister Bill Johnston called the announcement ‘a sensible plan’ – I would argue that a sensible plan needs more than an announcement of numbers and figures but lined-up projects.
“As well as such projects, we need to understand the detail behind the jobs that will be replaced by those lost due to the closure of the Collie power stations, rather than broad training programs.”
Dr Honey said the State Government must also promise to provide funding to repair the already neglected electrical grid system.
“I would very much like to see not just the $3.8 billion followed through to invest in renewables but also funding to the existing grid and electricity transmission infrastructure that is outdated and failing, evident particularly after the Summer of Blackouts over Christmas and earlier this year.
“The Collie Power station provides backup for peak load conditions, this means during the highs of summer, to ensure power supply – therefore it is essential that before the stations close, we already have new renewable projects to replace the output the coal-fired stations provide,” said Dr Honey.