Not long after securing a deal with Western Power to develop a battery-powered power-station in Western Australia (WA), renewable energy developer Carnegie Clean Energy (ASX: CCE) has won a competitive tender process to negotiate a lease for 250 hectares within the Buffer Zone of the Mungari Strategic Industrial Area.
If negotiations prove successful, Carnegie’s ultimate goal is to build and operate a solar farm that is able to supply significant amounts of electricity to WA’s main power grid.
Given the imbalances between electricity production and consumption across WA (and Australia as a whole), Carnegie is aiming to generate an additional 100 megawatts (MW) of electricity each year and offload it onto the main power grid in order to generate recurring sales revenues.
According to Carnegie, the proposed solar farm will have a capacity of up to 100MW and is expected to generate up to 20-megawatt hours (MWh) of battery-storage each year. Its designated location is likely to be 6km south-west of Kalgoorlie and 13km north-east of Coolgardie in WA.
Once completed, the Mungari Solar Farm could supply sustainable clean energy to Australia’s Eastern Goldfields, a highly gold-rich area that has experienced significant electricity supply constraints at commercial mining operations across the mining-focused state.
“Carnegie has a strong track record of developing greenfield sites into shovel-ready renewable projects rapidly and responsibly, most recently with its Northam Solar Farm,” said Carnegie’s Managing Director Dr Michael Ottaviano.
“We are excited to play a role in the development of the Mungari Strategic Industrial Area, which has an important role in the future economic prosperity of the Eastern Goldfields and look forward to working closely with local industries seeking sources of clean power generation, the State Government, local governments and other key stakeholders in bringing this project to fruition,” said Dr Ottaviano.
Renewed interest in renewable energy in WA
In WA, renewable energy is harnessed as an effective method for the State government to meet its energy needs, reduce dependence on fossil fuels and to help Australia meet its obligations under the Commonwealth Government’s Renewable Energy Target (RET) scheme.
Under current plans, Australia will be able to source almost 24% of all its electricity generation from renewables by 2020, according to the Australian Department of Environment and Energy.
It is likely that renewable energy will continue to increase its share of the overall energy production total as households and businesses seek to manage electricity costs through the installation of cost-saving solutions such as solar photovoltaic systems.
Meanwhile, major miners and large producers are struggling to meet their obligations under RET, given the current lack of alternatives for large power consumption requirements at mining projects.