19 May 2007 - 09:29
  • News Code: 104932

The renewable energy sector says more funding is needed for research into clean green energy sources to help power Western Australia’s new desalination plant.

The Premier Alan Carpenter has announced a new desalination plant will be built at Binningup, between Mandurah and Bunbury at a cost of $955 million.

He says it will be completed by 2011 and will be powered each year by 23 megawatts of renewable energy.

The chair of the WA Sustainable Energy Association, Ray Wills, says wind, biomass and even wave technology could be used, but there needs to be more funding to develop the renewable energy.

“The start up date is 2011 with construction a couple of years before so from a budget point of view that will be dealt with in a future budget and I expect that a future budget will include additional measures to build this additional renewable energy capacity,“ he said.

Reg Appleyard from the University of Western Australia’s Business School conducted a feasibility study into piping water to Perth from the Kimberley for the State Government last year.

He found it was eight times more expensive than underground water and desalination.

Professor Appleyard says the cost of providing water should decrease as desalination technology improves.

“The new desalination plant, certainly the cost is going to be very high, but on the other hand I still think they would have to be a lot more expensive to make it comparable with the cost of bringing water from the Kimberley, particularly by canal and pipeline,“ he said.

The Greens MLC Paul Llewellyn says he’s delighted the State Government has abandoned plans to tap the Yarragadee aquifer in the state’s south-west to address Perth’s water shortage, but the desalination plant is a short term solution.

He says the State Government needs to look at recycling and conservation to increase water efficiency.

“Desalination is a short term solution to our crisis that we have right now,“ he said.

“We should be moving towards much more water efficiency and conservation and recycling.

“It would be much better for the government to set a water efficiency target for the state and move toward reducing our per capita water consumption.“



News Code 104932

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