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The Western Australian Government-owned Horizon Power has announced a $21 million investment in Kimberley renewable infrastructure projects, as part of the WA Recovery Plan. 

The Kimberley region will receive a suite of innovative, clean energy projects that will create jobs and improve the state’s renewable energy footprint.

Western Australian Premier, Mark McGowan, said, “This significant investment as part of our comprehensive WA Recovery Plan will deliver a range of infrastructure projects that will help reduce energy costs, provide better energy efficiency to the community and create a pipeline of work across the Kimberley region.

“A range of job, supplier and contractor opportunities will be created to support the production, installation, commissioning and ongoing maintenance of the new systems. 

“These projects have been brought forward to support local jobs, businesses and our regional economies to recover from the impacts of COVID-19.”

Broome and Yungngora are set to benefit from the installation of its own Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) as part of a $12 million investment, and will be installed in early 2021. 

Each BESS project will enable more customers to install, connect and enjoy the long-term benefits and savings of rooftop solar and will create approximately 20 jobs during design, construction and installation phases.

Four new standalone power systems will be deployed to the Kimberley as part of the Western Australian Government’s overall $9.92 million investment into Standalone Power Systems (SAPS) across the North-West of the State. 

SAPS use solar and battery technology to generate and store electricity, and will allow more customers to benefit from safer, higher quality and more reliable power, 24 hours a day. 

Western Australian Energy Minister, Bill Johnston, said “The McGowan Government is committed to increasing its renewable energy footprint.

“The additional nine Battery Energy Storage Systems will integrate renewable energy, enabling more people living in regional WA to enjoy the benefits of rooftop solar.

“The deployment of 50 additional SAPS units across regional WA will deliver improved power reliability, quality and safety to some of our more remote, end-of-grid customers.”

In addition, the Shire of Derby will receive a $5.2 million investment towards the installation of solar panel systems across its portfolio of public buildings. 

All of Derby’s conventional street lights will be replaced by smart LED street lights which are more efficient, reducing operating costs and environmental impacts. 

The new, LED streetlights aim to reduce night-time crime and other traffic related issues, making Derby a safer place for the community and visitors.

Horizon Power will also work in partnership with Derby Health Services to co-design a large-scale solar panel and battery solution.

This will significantly contribute to the reduction in Derby Health Services’ annual power costs and enable more of the State’s funds to be redirected into other essential services across the region.

Around $2.5 million of the project’s cost is expected to be spent in the region, creating local jobs, supplier and contractor opportunities. 

Horizon Power will invest $3.81 million to upgrade the electrical infrastructure in remote Aboriginal communities across the Kimberley to improve power reliability and create jobs in the country.

The communities include Joy Springs, Loanbun, Karnparrmi, Gillarong, Emu Creek, Mud Springs, Bell Springs, Munthanmar and Koongie Park.

The Western Australian Government also announced that Horizon Power will establish a Customer Experience Centre in Broome. 

The Centre will create ten new local jobs and provide Horizon Power with more opportunities to engage with its customers, and understand their energy needs and challenges.

Horizon Power will commence relocating its existing customer services, which has been operated by Computershare in Melbourne since 2009, to the new Broome Centre from November 2020.

The Western Australian Government will invest a further $10 million towards the Clean Energy Future Fund, adding to the $9.3 million initially invested. 

Clean energy innovators can apply for funding of between $250,000 and $2 million for each clean energy project.

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