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Kimberley focus for power

CLOSE to finalising negotiations for the purchase of power for Esperance, and into the fourth month of working towards a purchase agreement for Exmouth, Western Power has embarked on a power procurement project for the far north of WA.

Consultants, fuel suppliers, equipment suppliers and independent power producers were part of the 120-strong mix at the utility’s briefing on the tender process for the West Kimberley Power Project last week.

The briefing was the first formal and public stage of the ambitious plan, which commenced with a mandate from the State Government in April last year.

Western Power reported the interest, both local and international, as an encouraging start to the open competitive tender process to replace five regional power stations – at Broome, Camballin-Looma, Derby, Fitzroy Crossing, Halls Creek – and their fuel supplies.

Western Power wants the stations up and running by 2005, not only to improve reliability and quality of supply to the region, but to also deliver power at a much lower cost than from diesel-generation, with greater safety and an improved environmental impact.

Another huge consideration is the cost savings – estimated at $50 million per year – on current regional supply.

As with the Esperance outcome, which will include some wind-generated power, the West Kimberley model has been designed to consider a renewable energy option.

Those who have gone public thus far with their interest in West Kimberley include Wesfarmers LNG (to supply liquefied natural gas), MAN B&W Diesel Australia (to provide liquid fuel or gas engines), and Esperance power procurement process sole bidder and Exmouth single preferred bidder, Burns and Roe Worley.

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