A $1.6 billion battery system proposal in the State’s South West has been given the green light, with construction set to get underway next year. The Regional Joint Development Assessment Panel unanimously approved Synergy’s plans for a 500 megawatt facility just north of Collie Power Station on Friday, paving the way for the State Government-owned electricity provider to start work on the development. The facility is set to comprise of over 650 battery storage units, with approval also being granted for infrastructure to support a potential doubling in the system’s capacity to 1000MW. Presiding member Tony Arias determined the proposal was suitable for development within the Coolangatta Industrial Estate, located 10km east of the Collie townsite. “Given the context of the site, the surrounding uses and the location, my view is that it won’t be contrary to proper and orderly planning,” he said. Acting third specialist member Neema Premji said the battery system would not prejudice future planning for the estate. “It is in line with the Collie transition plan and the WA government’s pathway to net zero emissions,” she said. Under questioning from Mr Arias, Synergy lead renewable engineer Dom Watson said the organisation would be looking to start works at the site in the new year. “This facility will be completely independent of Collie Power Station and will operate as a separate system in the South West Interconnected System,” he said. Collie Shire president Ian Miffling dismissed concerns about a lack of a social impact assessment for the development, highlighting the unanimous support for the proposal at a special meeting held last month. “It is well-known in Collie for many years that there will be this type of development, so there has been no objections from the community to my knowledge or any other elected members,” he said, “Collie is well and truly accommodating of this type of development.” Deputy Shire president Joe Italiano noted the strategic location of the site. “This project actually makes use of the poles and wires that are in the area, and it is in the Shire’s interest and the State’s interest,” he said. Construction is anticipated to take nearly two years once it gets underway, with up to 800 workers to be onsite during the peak of the building period. The battery system is expected to come online in late 2025, about two years before the adjoining Collie Power Station is set to close in October 2027.