New generation and storage plan billions short of real need

The Shadow Minister for Energy Dr Steve Thomas says today’s release of the South West Interconnected System (SWIS) Demand Assessment highlights the lack of preparedness and massive shortfall of funding in the McGowan Government’s current energy transition plan.

“The $3.8 billion of funding for the transition to renewables is already allocated for 810 Megawatts of wind capacity and 4,400 Megawatt hours of battery storage, leaving nothing for any other part of the necessary infrastructure,” Dr Thomas said.

“The study released today identified that “4,000km of new high-capacity transmission lines could be needed over the next twenty years”, which would add billions to the cost of the transition process.

“That is currently unfunded, as is much of the rest of the transition process. The Government announced $126 million in planning money in the upcoming budget with the release of the document, but nothing for the future build.

“How does the Government expect to pay for this, what costs will be passed on to energy users in WA, and will that reflect an increase in energy bills?”

Dr Thomas said that the Government has acknowledged in the document that they will need to increase the generation capacity of the SWIS tenfold over the next twenty years because renewable energy needs both a massive oversupply and a reliable storage system to supply enough power to meet demand.

“The Demand Assessment suggests generation capacity of 51,000 Megawatts will be needed, ten times the current capacity of around 5,000 MW, with Labor about to close down another 1,000 MW of coal generation in Collie,” Dr Thomas said.

“To keep the lights on during a transition under the current Labor plan the Government will have to invest more like $15 billion than $3.8 billion, and there is no sign of the money being forthcoming.

“This report simply reinforces that the current transition plan cannot work and is largely unfunded.

“It is no wonder the McGowan Government released it on federal budget day, hoping it would pass by unnoticed and unregarded.

“The SWIS Demand Assessment is an embarrassment for the Government as it underpins the inadequacy of the current plan and highlights the risks to electricity supply stability.”