Sandfire Resource's DeGrussa copper mine has a 10MW capacity solar farm, which it built at a cost of $40 million.

MacTiernan backs solar exports to Indonesia

Tuesday, 29 August, 2017 - 12:04
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An ambitious multi-billion dollar project to export solar power from the Pilbara into Indonesia would be technically viable, according to a pre-feasibility study released by the Pilbara Development Commission today.

The $9.5 billion project would involve building a three-gigawatt solar farm in the state’s north-west, and a large high-voltage subsea interconnector to transmit electricity to East Java, in Indonesia.

From there, it would potentially link into a planned Association of South East Asian Nations grid.

The subsea cable would span a distance of around 1,500 kilometres, about four times that of the Basslink between Victoria and Tasmania, and would cost about $6 billion, the pre-feasibility study suggested.

Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan said the project could be the region’s next major energy export.

"The Pilbara has some of the best solar resources in the world - and the report highlights the opportunity we have to sell our sunlight to our South-East Asian neighbours,” she 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."

There are existing examples of solar generation in the Pilbara.

Sandfire Resource's DeGrussa copper mine has a 10-megawatt capacity solar farm, which it built at a cost of $40 million.

A Horizon Power microgrid project in Onslow will also include a solar array.