The West Australian Government has launched a $66.3 million package focused on renewable energy technologies to kickstart the state's economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is a significant boost to clean energy projects that will create jobs, reduce costs and improve WA's renewable energy footprint.
In Western Australia's North-West, $44.5 million worth of infrastructure will be installed as part of a Regional Infrastructure Stimulus package.
The package includes an additional 50 standalone power systems, the installation of nine Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) in nine regional communities, and infrastructure upgrades in remote Aboriginal communities.
Each BESS project will take three months to deliver, reduce generation costs by up to $322,000 a year and create approximately 20 jobs during design, construction and installation phases.
The McGowan Government will invest a further $10 million towards the Clean Energy Future Fund, adding to the $9.3 million initially invested.
Clean energy innovators can apply for funding of between $250,000 and $2 million for each clean energy project.
Around 500 properties will benefit from $6 million worth of solar panels as part of a social housing project.
The government will also invest $4 million towards transforming up to 10 schools into smart, green Virtual Power Plants, receiving rooftop solar panel systems and commercial batteries.
The local community will be able to contribute and withdraw power from the solar they generate, reducing power bills for the schools and community participants.
Solar panels will be installed at up to 60 bus and rail stations, at $1.8 million, as part of the significant solar power investment package to improve energy efficiency.
WA premier, Mark McGowan said the recovery plan will drive the state’s economic and social recovery following the devastating impacts of COVID-19.
"Our management of COVID-19 means we are in a position to recover from the effects of the pandemic, stronger than ever,” he said.
"This comprehensive plan will support job-creating sectors including renewable energy, which we know will help reduce energy costs, provide better energy efficiency across the State and improve our energy footprint."
Energy Minister, Bill Johnston, said schools and public housing will experience lower electricity bills and contribute to reducing their energy footprint while modernising the state’s power grid.
Climate Council CEO, Amanda McKenzie, said the plan demonstrates fantastic leadership from the WA government.
“It’s a winning solution creating jobs, setting up new industries for the future and reducing pollution,” she said.
“It comes less than a week after new economic modelling found that 10,000 jobs could be created in Western Australia, rapidly getting people back into the workforce while also tackling climate change.”