WA government to shore up regional energy supply

Following a number of outages earlier this year, the Western Australian government has tasked state-owned energy provider Western Power with improving the reliability of electricity supply to the Goldfields.

The decision follows a “freak” supercell thunderstorm in mid-January, which affected parts of regional Western Australia, including the historic regional mining centre of Kalgoorlie. 

Western Power will lead a ‘non-co-optimised essential system services’ (NCESS) procurement process for up to 150 megawatts of “reliability services and additional system strength.”

A spokesperson for the WA state government tells Mining.com.au the initiative — the latest in a series of actions undertaken since the outages in mid-January — will ensure Kalgoorlie is secure if it is again disconnected from the South West Interconnected System. 

“Tendering for replacement generation in Kalgoorlie is one of many initiatives the state government has undertaken since a freak supercell thunderstorm in mid-January felled five transmission towers in the Wheatbelt and Goldfields and caused extended power outages in Kalgoorlie,” the spokesperson says.

“This means greater energy security and reliability for residents and customers in Kalgoorlie. It’s hoped this will be available as early as 2026.”  

Kalgoorlie is home to the annual Diggers and Dealers Conference, a prominent resources investment forum which provides a diverse range of mining companies the opportunity to showcase their assets to investors. 

“The procurement process will seek to encourage development and deployment of innovative non-network solutions to maintain reliable supply to the Goldfields and meet customer expectations for increased renewable energy in the South West Interconnected System,” WA Energy Minister Reece Whitby says.

Thus far, the state government has already doubled the extended outage payment for affected customers, requested a review of electricity supply reliability be conducted by Energy Policy WA, Synergy and Western Power, and requested a network resilience package be drawn up by the former.   

The NCESS framework was established as part of the government’s Energy Transformation Strategy published in 2022. 

It enables the Australian Energy Market Operator, Western Power, or the Coordinator of Energy to identify the need for services not already available through existing market mechanisms.

Write to Adam Drought at Mining.com.au

Images: Pexels/Rachel Claire
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Written By Adam Drought
Born and raised in the UK, Adam is a sports fanatic with an interest in Rugby League and UFC/MMA. When not training in Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Adam attends Griffith University where he is completing his final year of a Communication & Journalism degree.