WA Election 2021 – Climate Change, Renewable Energy and EVs

Western Australia election 2021

While it’s still just under a month before voters in Western Australia go to the polls, here’s some of what WA Labor, Liberals, Nationals and Greens have committed to at this point in terms of renewable energy, electric vehicles and climate change.

WA Liberals

The WA Liberals turned heads across the nation last week when announcing their NoMoCo stance – no more coal power. It’s a huge change in attitude to just a few years ago when the party was wailing and rending its garments over a renewables-based future.

WA Liberals leader Zak Kirkup has made a commitment for the government to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2030, and shuttering all state owned coal-fired power stations by 2025. Mr Kirkup also launched the party’s New Energy Jobs Plan, which among its elements includes:

  • Construction of a 1,500 MW wind and solar farm in the Mid West that will deliver cheaper and cleaner electricity for the state.
  • Construction of a further 4,500MW of wind and solar capacity by 2030 to power a hydrogen production industry
  • An investment of $100 million in the Collie Training and Transition Fund to assist workers impacted by the coal-phaseout into secure long-term jobs.
  • Invest $50 million in the Zero Emissions Taskforce to oversee the implementation of the project.

“What is exciting about this plan is that it will not only deliver net zero emissions, but it will also create hundreds of thousands of new jobs, build new industries and cut the cost of power for business and consumers,” said Mr. Kirkup.

The WA Liberals have set a goal of 200,000 new jobs over the next five years.

Commitments for cleaner transport include:

  • $24 million EV charging network rollout – 138 fast charging electric stations over 61 sites across Western Australia.
  • $2 million for a hydrogen vehicle network in addition to the $28 million already announced by the state government for hydrogen initiatives.
  • $9 million hydrogen fuelling station partnership – additional six hydrogen fuel stations across the Perth metropolitan area.
  • $5 million EV and hydrogen passenger vehicle stamp duty rebate  –  worth up to $4,000 for new electric and hydrogen passenger vehicle purchases over the next five years.
  • $3 million EV and hydrogen commercial vehicle rebates –  up to $10,000 for 150 electric and 150 hydrogen commercial vehicles over the next five years.
  • Various research and development initiatives for a smarter, cleaner transport future

Further details here

WA Labor

WA Labor may still be recovering from shock after the Libs announced their plans, although some have commented that the Liberals’ chances of seizing power are pretty slim.

The McGowan Government released its Western Australian Climate Policy in December last year that reaffirms an aspirational goal of achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Under the McGowan government’s Whole Of System Plan, also released last year, fossil fuels still get a look in under all scenarios out to at least 2030.

In relation to election promises, they’ve been a little difficult to track down in one spot. Even WA Today’s handy election promise tracker didn’t reveal much except:

  • $21 million for the expansion of an electric vehicle charging network and encourage uptake of electric vehicles that was mentioned in the Climate Policy.
  • $13 million for a program encouraging households to replace low-efficiency appliances.

However, it would be remiss to ignore what the McGowan Government has triggered prior to the election sideshow in terms of renewables, which includes a $66.3 million renewable energy technologies package announced in July.

Update 18 February: WA Labor has just committed to a $218 million investment to manufacture and install more than 1,000 standalone power systems (including solar panels, batteries and hydrogen electrolysers) in regional WA over the next five years and $10 million to support the development of a WA wind turbine manufacturing industry.

WA Greens

Here’s some of  what the WA Greens have committed to:

  • 100% renewable energy by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2035.
  • Phasing out coal and gas, including immediately banning fracking and stopping new or expanding gas projects.
  • A “just” transition plan to support coal and gas workers and communities.
  • Create 10,000 jobs a year with an initial $500 million a year State Renewables Investment Fund
  •  $2.5 billion in investments over ten years for a WA Sustainable Industry Investment Fund to drive the transition to clean manufacturing and industry; e.g green steel, lithium-ion battery manufacturing and green hydrogen.
  • Reform market and pricing agreements in order to support peer-to-peer trading and a shift to decentralised energy grids.
  • Fast-tracking of electrification of WA’s public bus transportation fleet, bringing it forward to 2025, and investing in trackless trams.
  • Investing $50 million for the rollout of an electric vehicle fast-charging network across the state by 2025.
  • Incentives for EV purchasing for private buyers.
  • State government fleet target of 100% EVs by 2030.

The WA Greens’ full plan can be downloaded here.

Nationals WA

Not much to see here – no related election promises that I can see. While Nationals WA say they are pretty keen on effective renewable energy options, particularly wind/solar/battery microgrids in fringe-of-grid areas, they also support gas for electricity generation as it will “reduce reliance on fossil fuels“. Huh?

Bill Johnston (WA Labor), Dr. David Honey (WA Liberals) and Tim Clifford (WA Greens) will be going head-to-head on state energy policy issues in an Australia Institute hosted debate at the Parmelia Hilton Hotel tomorrow.

Regardless of who’s in power after the election, something that is unlikely to change is the popularity of home solar power in Western Australia. Even with the state’s lousy feed-in tariff, solar is a winner in WA for beating electricity bills; particularly in Perth given the very low cost of solar systems in the 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. Ronald Brakels says

    Nice to see the zero coal commitment from the WA Liberals. It was a long time coming, but now it has finally arrived it’s a refreshing change.

    I will point out that people aren’t going be be driving a combination of both electric cars and hydrogen cars so backing both is dumb. I recommend going with EVs because they outsell hydrogen vehicles hundreds to one. Just because WA currently extracts and sells a lot of burnable gas doesn’t mean things have to use burnable gas forever.

  2. All polotical promises.
    We trust them all to keep their word don’t we…
    What coercion or persuasion to toe the party line will be bought to bear from the Feds if WA Liberal wins?

    And what about fossil fuels mined in WA but sold to other states?

  3. And the ALP is preferencing the gun lobby ahead of the Greens…

  4. At 1355 “NEM Time”, for the SWIS grid, on the NEM Watch Widget,
    Small Solar – 824MW
    Large Solar – 107MW
    Wind – 639 MW
    Black Coal – 443MW
    Gas – 338MW
    “Other” – 12 MW

    Small Solar is producing more electricity, that Gas and Black Coal, together, and, Small Solar is the largest source of electricity.

    It is we, the householders, with our household rooftop photovoltaic systems, that are carrying the grid, and, supplying the clean electricity in WA, in spite of the state government’s policy to generate electricity using fossil fuels. We provide the largest source of clean electricity in the state, in spite of the policies of the parliamentary political parties.

    It is people power!

  5. The parliamentary political parties that are represented by at least one member in the Western Australian state parliament, as at the time of the March 2021 Western Australian state parliamentary election, have each shown that they do not support household rooftop photovoltaic systems, with or without battery storage.

    This is shown by the responses and lack of responses, to a question sent by email, to each of those parties, to which email could be sent.

    The absence of support for household rooftop photovoltaic systems, by the Greens (WA) is surprising.

    It shows that support for reducing pollution in WA, support for renewable energy, and, support for stable electricity supply, support for boosting the WA state economy and assisting households, and support for clean energy and associated employment, are all lacking in all of the WA parliamentary political parties.

  6. Just out of interest, after having posted my last previous post regarding the article above, I have found a couple of organisations in WA, that other WA residents might be interested in viewing their web sites, if they have not already.

    The web sites are at
    https://www.sen.asn.au/
    and
    https://www.cleanstate.org.au/

    The organisations are apparently, not partisan.

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