The Liberal National Government has established a high-level project team to develop and implement a new model for the operation of, and access to, electricity infrastructure in the Pilbara region.
The existing North West Interconnected System (NWIS) has been developed on an ad-hoc basis, with industry participants constructing network infrastructure and power stations to meet their own needs.
Energy Minister Mike Nahan said while transmission infrastructure in the region was interconnected, these interconnection points were fragmented, with a range of different voltages, multiple points of transformation and constrained capacity in many parts of the system.
"The Pilbara Energy Infrastructure Project will facilitate an interconnected electricity system, with a governance model to facilitate efficient construction and use of infrastructure, and encourage further private sector investment," Dr Nahan said.
"This is necessary to ensure a sustainable and efficient energy sector in the region, for the longer-term security of electricity supplies and development of the Pilbara region."
The Minister said the Pilbara Energy Infrastructure Project team would be led by Synergy chairman Lyndon Rowe and comprise senior representation from the departments of State Development and Treasury and from the Public Utilities Office within the Department of Finance, as well as senior executives from industry with current or planned investments or interests in the region.
"This project proposal reflects the State Government's considered approach to energy planning, enabling secure, reliable and competitive electricity supplies that meet the demands of consumers," he said.
The first stage of the project will comprise a feasibility study for a new infrastructure model. Subject to feasibility, stage two will involve implementing the new model.
The NWIS is the primary Pilbara electricity grid, including electricity generation, transmission and distribution assets
It covers the key centres Port Hedland and Karratha
NWIS assets are owned by multiple private-sector and State-owned businesses
Minister's office - 6552 5700