Power project is cooking on gas

TWO WA consortiums are negotiating with the WA Government for the right to supply electricity to the western Kimberley region.

Energy Minister Colin Barnett said Energy Equity Corporation/ Woodside Energy and Wesfarmers Energy/West Power had outperformed other bidders in an evaluation process conducted over the past three months.

Both consortiums propose using liquefied natural gas-fired power stations.

The government hopes to have a power purchase agreement with one of the consortiums by Sept-ember. If that is achieved, the new power provider should be online in twelve to eighteen months.

Remaining bidders Alston/Shell Australia and Tidal Energy Aust-ralia/Leighton Contractors will be held in reserve in case an agreement cannot be reached with the two preferred bidders.

Mr Barnett said the government intended to achieve efficient power supplies in WA regions at lower costs than were being achieved.

Currently, electricity costs in the region range from 25 cents per kilowatt hour in Broome to more than 40 cents per kilowatt hour in outlying areas such as Camballin. Each year Western Power loses around $11 million supplying power to the region.

It is hoped encouraging private power projects will also provide additional power to encourage the growth of new industries and provide reliable electricity supplies to households and businesses.

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