The Western Australian state government says it is to update its grid transition plan, known as the Whole of System Plan, as rooftop solar continues its remarkable growth and becomes a dominant player in the local market.
The Whole of System Plan, put together by the Energy Transformation Taskforce, disappointed many in the industry for not going far enough in the clean energy transition.
Now it seems that the state government is going to have another bite at the cherry, announcing a second Whole of System Plan and funding of $945,000 for the Western Australian Advocacy for Consumers of Energy Program.
“WA’s energy sector is experiencing a rapid transformation, with one in three households now having rooftop solar panels; this is expected to reach one in two by 2030,” the statement said.
It quoted energy minister Bill Johnston as saying that the state government supporting the evolution of the sector towards a cleaner, greener energy future.
“Western Australians have actively taken up rooftop solar panels, pushing the limits of our energy system, but fortunately we’re acting to solve all the emerging challenges in the sector,” he said.
“The Energy Transformation Strategy sets out the steps we must take to continue to modernise our system and plan for the long-term needs of our State.”
Ironically, the Liberal Party in W.A., despite being opponents of renewable investments while in government, came up with a surprisingly ambitious plan to reach 100 per cent renewables by 2030.
That plan was criticised, and mocked by the state Labor government as being unrealistic and too expensive, but industry is moving quickly to high renewable shares.
Apart from the big mining companies pushing for more renewables in the grids that supply their big operations in the north of the state, proposals of 50GW renewable energy hubs in the south and 26GW in the north are getting serious consideration.
As well as this, utilities are also seeing the need to transition. AGL has split into two in an attempt to get at least part of its business in line with the clean energy transition, while WA’s state owned Synergy has also promised a strategic review in light of the switch to rooftop solar and other renewable technologies, but has yet to release it.