Tidal power rethink forced

STRONG public interest in tidal power for Derby has forced the WA Government to set up a committee to compare the recommended gas proposal with the Derby tidal power bid.

Previously, Energy Minister Colin Barnett had said the bid from Energy Equity Corporation and Woodside Energy had been given the nod to provide power to the West Kimberley.

The consortium was planning to build a liquefied natural gas-fired power plant.

However, the majority of Derby residents favour a consortium of Tidal Energy Australia and Leighton Contractors that wants to generate power from the huge tidal swings in the region.

The Ministerial advisory committee will be chaired by Cooperative Research Centre for Renewable Energy managing director Dr Frank Reid.

Contract and Management Services CEO Dr Paul Schapper and acting coordinator of Energy Vince Walsh will also sit on the committee.

Mr Barnett said that the regional power procurement steering committee, which considered the six bids to provide power to the region, had conducted a fair and thorough evaluation.

The committee selected the LNG-fired proposal.

“Despite all this, I will review TEA’s ‘best offer’ to satisfy the desires of the local community and the interest expressed by the Federal Government in the tidal energy project,” Mr Barnett said.

Apparently the Federal Government has indicated it is prepared to provided financial support of $60 million for the project.

Currently Western Power’s diesel-fired West Kimberley power station is losing $20 million a year.

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