Climate Change And Energy In Western Australia – Issues Paper

Climate change and energy - Western Australia

WA’s McGowan Government is calling on Western Australians to have their say on climate change policy, including issues related to energy.

Last week, the Government released its ‘Climate change in Western Australia – issues paper’, which covers 11 focus areas including transforming energy generation.

Around 28% of dwellings in Western Australia have solar panels installed1 and large‑ and small‑scale renewables generation currently supply 16 per cent of annual energy needs in the State’s South West Interconnected System (SWIS).2

However, energy-related emissions are apparently still rising in the SWIS. According to the issues paper, emissions have increased by around 16 per cent since 2005.

The paper asks:

  • What are the main challenges for decarbonising Western Australia’s electricity supply while ensuring adequate generation capacity, security and reliability?
  • What are the most effective ways to overcome these challenges by 2030?
  • Should the electricity sector make a pro‑rata (or greater) contribution to Australia’s national greenhouse gas emission targets?
  • How fast do you think the transition of the electricity sector should occur?

Energy Emissions Reduction A Big Task

The paper notes a 26 per cent ‘pro‑rata’ reduction for the SWIS – which is consistent with Australia’s Paris Agreement commitments – would require emissions to be slashed by 36 per cent from current levels; which is a significantly greater task for WA compared to reductions in the National Electricity Market (NEM) where emissions have already declined by around 20% since 2005.

While detailing some of the challenges of more renewables, the paper also notes cost reductions in battery storage combined with renewable sources such as wind power and solar energy could soon put these on par with “conventional” sources of reliable energy.

The McGowan Government says public submissions on the paper will help shape the State Climate Policy, which will be released next year and help achieve a goal of net zero emissions for Western Australia by 2050.

“By working together, we can ensure the State is well positioned for a global low carbon transition and improve our State’s resilience to the effects of climate change,” said Environment Minister Stephen Dawson.

(Just don’t mention the fracking – and the issues paper doesn’t either).

The issues paper can be viewed here and submissions made here.

Footnotes

  1. APVI – as at June 2019
  2. The SWIS extends from Albany in the south of Western Australia to Kalbarri in the north and Kalgoorlie in the east of the state, and includes Perth’s metropolitan area.
About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

Comments

  1. If you read the paper, you’ll note that the Minister says ” I invite all Western Australians to have their say.” Whether he would welcome contributions from East Coasters is another matter. Nevertheless I shall give him my views, in particular disabusing him of the feasibility of his pious hope:

    “Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are continuing to develop and may
    present opportunities to decarbonise particular applications such
    as long‑haul heavy transport.”

    Jeez, how much money is being wasted by ignorant pollies and their dumb assistants? How did that piece of stupidity ever make it into print?

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