Electrical, Latest News, Sustainability, Western Australia

Horizon Power’s renewable energy project a boom for the Kimberley

The Kimberley’s peak environmental organisation, Environs Kimberley, has welcomed the release of Horizon Power’s new Kimberley Future Energy System Project, and Request for Tenders (RFT).

The project will supply electricity to the Kimberley towns of Broome, Derby, Halls Creek and Fitzroy Crossing, and the Looma-Camballin community, for at least the next 20 years, from 2027, according to the Horizon Power RFT documents.

The project is based on a strong renewable energy component, called the ‘Renewable Energy Guarantee.’  

For Broome and Derby, the biggest markets, this guarantee is for at least 80% renewable energy, probably mostly solar.

Environs Kimberley’s director of strategy, Martin Pritchard, said that Horizon Power’s West Kimberley power project would be a breakthrough for Kimberley communities.

“After years of watching LNG being trucked up to Broome from the Pilbara and burnt in the local gas-fired power station to supply the bulk of Broome’s electricity and seeing diesel generators relied on in the other towns, we are at last seeing the transition away from dirty, expensive fossil fuels to clean, lower-cost renewable energy.

“The Broome Clean Energy Report, commissioned by Environs Kimberley and produced by Sustainable Energy Now (SEN) in 2023, estimated that over 80% of Broome’s electricity generation could be achieved with renewable energy at three-quarters of the price of gas-fired generation. It is very rewarding to see those findings picked up in this Project,” said Pritchard. 

Pritchard said the transition for Kimberley that was helped by the RFT documents was a no-brainer. 

“In a region with as much sun as the Kimberley has, it is a no-brainer to switch to a largely renewable grid.

“We also welcome the requirement in the RFT documents that participants ‘exclude electricity supply solutions that utilise fossil fuel generation as the primary source of electricity generation.’

“Of course, there may continue to be a need for a small supply of gas or diesel as backup, at least for the time being, but to go from where we are now to 80% renewables in Broome and Derby is fantastic,” said Pritchard. 

Pritchard said that Environs Kimberley will keep a close eye on the process to ensure that renewable guarantees are lived up to. 

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