Solar grid to power the future

Jacinta CantatoreHarvey-Waroona Reporter
Lands Minister Ben Wyatt, Local Government Minister David Templeman, Murray-Wellington MLA Robyn Clarke, Regional Development Minister Alannah Mactiernan, Enwave Consortium general manager Rob Breden and Landcorp chief executive officer Frank Marra launch the new solar micro-grid project at Nambeelup Business Park. Photo: supplied.
Camera IconLands Minister Ben Wyatt, Local Government Minister David Templeman, Murray-Wellington MLA Robyn Clarke, Regional Development Minister Alannah Mactiernan, Enwave Consortium general manager Rob Breden and Landcorp chief executive officer Frank Marra launch the new solar micro-grid project at Nambeelup Business Park. Photo: supplied.

Australia’s first industrial-level solar grid could power more than just business when it is built at the Peel Business Park.

On Thursday, Lands Minister Ben Wyatt and Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan announced plans to build a solar farm and battery storage facility on a 120ha lot within the Nambeelup park.

The micro grid will produce enough energy to power industries at the park, but can be supplemented from the Western Power grid if needed.

Infrastructure investment company Enwave Australia will lead a group of businesses to develop the country’s first industrial renewable energy micro grid.

Once up and running more than 1800 jobs will be created, with a further 2000 jobs once the park is fully operational.

Waroona shire president Mike Walmsley said it was not just about job creation, but about looking at the bigger-picture benefits the park could bring.

“The shires of Waroona, Murray and Harvey form part of the South West food bowl and this would align well with local value-adding industries,” he said.

“It could be a value-adding precinct for industries up the chain, such as hemp processing or food packaging or many others,” he said.

“Thanks to the Harvey Water irrigation system we have good water, we have fertile land and business potential in the East Asia markets is right there.”

The Bushfire Centre of Excellence will be constructed within the same industrial area and Cr Walmsley said the venture could bring further opportunities.

“A few things are really aligning here,” he said.

“It could be really exciting if this comes off.”

Cr Walmsley said covered-cropping agriculture such as hot houses to grow produce were also sectors that would benefit from the park.

The location has also received support from both sides of politics and the three levels of government.

“I know the Barnett government pushed for this some time ago and it grew legs and now the current government is running with it which is great,” he said.

“If it is creating jobs in the Peel region, that’s got to be a good thing.”

Ms MacTiernan said the Peel Business Park and Transform Peel were part of the State Government's commitment to industry diversification, investment and job opportunities in the regions.

“The micro grid offers clear incentives for businesses to relocate to the Peel Business Park, helping to drive job creation in the Peel region,” Ms MacTiernan said.

Mr Wyatt said it was essential to provide a secure and affordable power supply in order to create a place where business, industry, training, research and development come together.

“In planning the micro grid project, it has been estimated that the renewable energy mix will help reduce power usage costs to business by around 30 per cent off regulated bundled energy tariffs.

“This is a smart, sustainable solution for a broader project that will be built on innovation.”

The park has the potential to inject around $1billion into the State’s economy each year.

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