Wind farm officially open at Badgingarra

Wind farm officially open at Badgingarra

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State Energy Minister Bill Johnston at the Badgingarra Wind Farm site.

State Energy Minister Bill Johnston at the Badgingarra Wind Farm site.

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The official opening of the Badgingarra Wind Farm took place early this month at Hill River, 220 kilometres north of Perth.

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THE official opening of the Badgingarra Wind Farm took place early this month at Hill River, 220 kilometres north of Perth.

Energy Minister Bill Johnston said the APA Group's new project had the potential annual energy output equivalent to powering about 115,000 Western Australian homes.

The $315 million Badgingarra Wind Farm consists of 37 wind turbines (3.6 megawatt) and will be co-located with APA's $40m 17.5 megawatt Badgingarra Solar Farm, which is under construction.

The project has received a network access connection offer to the Western Power network (North Country region).

Together with APA's nearby Emu Downs Wind and Solar Farms, the projects create a 247.5mW renewable energy precinct.

Mr Johnston said it was "well recognised that a major transformation is underway in our State's electricity sector, with rapid uptakes of rooftop solar panels and battery storage systems at households".

"This transition is expected to continue in the coming decades and is being replicated in electricity sectors all over the world," Mr Johnston said.

"Projects, such as Badgingarra, illustrate the great potential we have in Western Australia to take advantage of these changes, particularly in creating valuable regional opportunities.

"The McGowan government is committed to minimising the costs of the transition to renewable energy technologies, which is why we're developing a Whole of System Plan and Distributed Energy Resources Roadmap."

The State government has also announced an $11.6m investment, as part of the State Budget, to fund the installation of solar farms and energy storage in remote Aboriginal communities.

The remote communities centralised solar program will be delivered by Horizon Power, and includes the installation of up to 4mW of solar farms across six communities in the Kimberley - an average of 400 to 600 kilowatts for each community.

The project will significantly reduce the cost of providing power to these towns which are 100 per cent diesel fuelled and will reduce the government's subsidy paid to Horizon Power.

Construction is scheduled for Warmun and Kalumburu in 2020 and in Ardyaloon, Beagle Bay, Djarindjin / Lombadinaand Bidyadanga in 2021.

The program is being rolled out alongside Horizon Power's solar incentive project which encourages eligible remote communities to invest in their own roof-top solar on community buildings, with Horizon Power contributing 30pc of the cost.

The Djarindjin and Lombadina Aboriginal Corporations were part of the pilot program and have successfully reduced their electricity bills.

Horizon Power intends to release a Request for Tender document for the construction of the east Kimberley systems this month.

Mr Johnston said this low cost and "reliable renewable energy solution, will foster community development through local jobs, training and investment opportunities".

"The program follows on from the launch of the McGowan government's Energy Transformation Strategy, which aims to deliver cleaner, affordable and more reliable energy," he said.

Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt said the "solar incentives scheme allows Aboriginal communities to reduce their power bills for community buildings such as roadhouses, offices and men's sheds, while also improving the energy reliability during periods when it can be hard to access diesel fuel".

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