Climate change and Energy in Western Australia (issues paper)

Last week, the Government released its ‘Climate change in Western Australia – issues paper’, which covers 11 focus areas including transforming energy generation.

WA’s McGowan Government is calling on Western Australians to have their say on climate change policy, including issues related to energy.

Around 28% of dwellings in Western Australia have solar panels installed and large‑ and small‑scale renewables generation currently supply 16 per cent of annual energy needs in the State’s South West Interconnected System (SWIS).

The paper asks:

  • What are the main challenges for decarbonising Western Australia’s electricity supply while ensuring adequate generation capacity, security and reliability?
  • What are the most effective ways to overcome these challenges by 2030?
  • Should the electricity sector make a pro‑rata (or greater) contribution to Australia’s national greenhouse gas emission targets?
  • How fast do you think the transition of the electricity sector should occur?

The paper notes a 26 per cent ‘pro‑rata’ reduction for the SWIS – which is consistent with Australia’s Paris Agreement commitments – would require emissions to be slashed by 36% from current levels; which is a significantly greater task for WA compared to reductions in the National Electricity Market (NEM) where emissions have already declined by around 20% since 2005.

While detailing some of the challenges of more renewables, the paper also notes cost reductions in battery storage combined with renewable sources such as wind power and solar energy could soon put these on par with “conventional” sources of reliable energy.

“By working together, we can ensure the State is well positioned for a global low carbon transition and improve our State’s resilience to the effects of climate change,” said Environment Minister Stephen Dawson.

The McGowan Government says public submissions on the paper will help shape the State Climate Policy, which will be released next year and help achieve a goal of net zero emissions for Western Australia by 2050.