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Study reveals solar could be the Pilbara’s next big energy export

Aug 29, 2017

The Pilbara Development Commission today welcomes the release of a Pre-Feasibility Study into exporting solar energy from the Pilbara to Southeast Asia. The Study, which is the first of its kind in Australia, was released by the Minister for Regional Development Alannah MacTiernan at the New Pilbara Economic Development Conference in Perth today.

The intent of the Pre-Feasibility Study is to draw attention to the potential of solar power generation as a key driver of economic diversification in the Pilbara and to determine whether more research is warranted for the development of an export-scale renewable energy project in the region.

The Pre-Feasibility Study finds it is technically feasible to build a gigawatt scale facility in the Pilbara and deliver the energy generated, via a High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) cable to Indonesia.

Minister for Regional Development Alannah MacTiernan said the Pilbara had some of the best solar resources in the world.

"This report highlights the opportunity we have to sell our sunlight to our South-East Asian neighbours," Minister MacTiernan said.

"Exporting solar energy to Asia has the potential to be a valuable addition to the Pilbara's existing energy mix and would stimulate new economic activity, creating thousands of permanent jobs in the region.

"We now have the evidence to establish dialogue with Indonesia about the potential for a transformational clean energy partnership to take WA's renewable energy to the world."

The Pre-Feasibility Study aims to fill the knowledge gap and put the Pilbara on the map as a desirable place to develop a large-scale solar energy project.

Pilbara Development Commission Chief Executive Officer Terry Hill said the Study was the first step in developing a solar energy export industry in the north west.

“There is an abundance of sunlight and vast amounts of land in the Pilbara, making the region well-suited to large-scale solar developments,” Mr Hill

“There is a significant opportunity for the Pilbara to be at the forefront of new technology and lead the way in renewable energy.”

“The Commission is committed to enabling economic diversification opportunities for the Pilbara to create long term, sustainable economic growth.”

The Pre-Feasibility Study was funded by the Pilbara Development Commission, and is available to download from www.pdc.wa.gov.au/Pilbarasolar.

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