Renewable energy plan for Wheatbelt

Kate PollardThe West Australian
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Five renewable energy zones in regional WA have been identified by the Greens as part of their clean energy roadmap to phase out gas and coal use in WA by 2029.

The Mid West and Geraldton, Goldfields, central Pilbara, Great Southern and Collie have been identified as key areas to harness untapped renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, hot rock geothermal and biomass.

Perth has also been identified as a renewable zone under the plan to increase energy efficiency using solar power.

It's all part of the Greens election platform that aims to increase the national renewable target by 90 per cent by 2030.

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Durack Greens candidate Ian James, a second-generation farmer, said the plan involved feeding energy efficient sources into the existing grid network.

Plans within his electorate include a 1.5-megawatt concentrated thermal power station near Morawa, two 100mW solar plants at Perenjori and 34 250mW-solar-power station in the Pilbara.

Mr James said it would bring investment and up to 26,000 jobs to the regions.

While the cost of energy was likely to remain the same, he said there would be benefits for farmers.

"There will be an environmental benefit for farmers … and it will help improve the climate change outlook," he said.

A big part of the plan will revolve around biomass using oil mallee plantations.

Mr James said 10 per cent of the land used for growing crops would be needed to supply a network of biomass plants and would be an alternative source of income for growers.

The Mid West and Geraldton will also tap into wind and wave energy sources, with the Great Southern to make use of wind, biomass and waves.

Solar will be the key source in the Pilbara and Goldfields and biomass and wind in Collie.

The plan includes allocating $30 billion over 10 years to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

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