Premier Richard Court today officially opened the Ord River Hydro Power Station at Lake Argyle describing it as a catalyst for future development of the Kimberley region.
Mr Court said the hydro electric power station would bring social and economic benefits to region.
"The project brings clean, cheap and efficient energy to the growing communities of Wyndham and Kununurra, provides power to the Argyle Diamond Mine, while the availability of an inexpensive power source is expected to stimulate future development in the region," he said.
"Today's opening is a tribute to the foresight of the Brand Coalition Government in the late 1960s which ensured that provision was made for the future construction of a hydro power station in the development of the Argyle Dam."
The power station was developed by a private consortium of Pacific Hydro Limited and Lend Lease Infrastructure.
The station converts into electricity the energy of the water being discharged from Lake Argyle. The water is then used for irrigation purposes.
Capital expenditure on the project has exceeded $70 million and more than 200 people have been employed in the construction of the power station, the transmission lines and associated facilities.
The consortium has an agreement to supply Western Power with electricity to Kununurra for 25 years and the Argyle Diamond Mine for seven years.
Mr Court said the rapid growth of the Kununurra region meant there was an increasing need for extra power.
"The power station will have the generating capacity to meet the forecast demand for power in the North Kimberley for the next 30 years," he said
"Its opening is a landmark in the development of the top-end."
Energy Minister Colin Barnett said the power station was the largest application of renewable energy in Western Australia and would replace three existing diesel power stations which would now only be used as a back-up power source.
"As a result, Western Power and the Argyle Diamond Mine will be able to reduce consumption of imported diesel fuel by 60 million litres a year - enough to fill 800 suburban swimming pools," Mr Barnett said.
"This is a saving of $20 million , and is on top of the $2.5 to $3.5 million savings in operating costs for Western Power.
"This power station will be a major showcase for alternative energy use."
Media contact: Casey Cahill 222 9475