Member for Moore Shane Love MLA has called on the State Government to divert more than $15 million funding for a wave energy plant at Albany to Kalbarri.
Mr Love said while there was uncertainty surrounding connection of the Albany wave project to the South West energy grid, it made sense to reallocate the State Government project funds to bolster energy supplies in Kalbarri.
Announced on October 6, 2017, the $15.75 million grant to Carnegie Clean Energy was to see the installation of a large-scale wave energy converter device off the Albany coast capable of producing about one megawatt (MW) of electrical power for export into the South West Interconnected System. A report in the Albany Advertiser on March 1 claimed that at the time the State Government grant was announced, uncertainty surrounded the Albany wave generators ultimate connection to the grid.
“Recent confirmation that related company, Energy Made Clean would be part of the team delivering a microgrid power supply for Kalbarri is welcome news but I am concerned that there is insufficient local generation to sustain Kalbarri in the event of outages lasting more than a few hours,” Mr Love said.
“It is vital that Kalbarri is not subjected to the lengthy outages, sometimes lasting for days, that have plagued it in recent years. “Power outages lasting days at a time do great damage to the tourism industry and reputation of Kalbarri as well as greatly inconveniencing its residents, at time putting their health and well-being at risk.”
Mr Love said the addition of a 1MW wave plant to feed into the Kalbarri Microgrid would go a long way to helping shore up supplies in Kalbarri when the connection to Geraldton is lost.
“One megawatt would represent around one third of peak load in Kalbarri on most days and when added to other existing and proposed sources of generation in the area we could well see the end of damaging power outages in the town,” he added.
“Conversely 1MW of generation would have a negligible impact in a town the size of Albany.
“Given that the projects – the Kalbarri microgrid and the Albany wave plant – are both being delivered by Carnegie (Energy Made Clean), I call on the government to reconsider the $15.75 million expenditure for a wave plant in Albany and construct it in Kalbarri instead.”