Three Aboriginal communities in the West Kimberley will take part in a pilot program to receive a reliable power supply
at a competitive price.
Energy Minister Colin Barnett said the three communities were Bidyadanga, Yiyilli and Wangkatjunka.
The Minister said funding for the power procurement process would come from the State and Federal Governments.
“These communities have been selected on a number of criteria including size and location,” he said.
“Big communities are preferable because their power needs are greater and they will provide a more reliable base for a supplier.
“The initial phase of the program will assess the ability to provide long-term solutions to providing power to big remote Aboriginal communities.”
Mr Barnett said at the moment the cost of power generation in many remote communities was extremely high.
This was because of the inefficient use of fuel and energy, high breakdown costs and increasingly complex systems which required expertise not currently available.
In the past, the State and Federal Governments tried to address these issues through several co-operative initiatives aimed at reforming the delivery of essential services to remote Aboriginal communities.
Mr Barnett said if the first phase of the Aboriginal Community Power Procurement Process was successful, it would be extended to include other large remote communities.
He said the 15 or 16 Aboriginal communities with a population of more than 200 would be targeted.
“There are about 260 discrete Aboriginal communities in Western Australia,” the Minister said.
“These communities are either connected to the Western Power grid if they are town-based, or have their own power generation facilities which usually comprise diesel engine driven and/or hybrid systems.”
Mr Barnett said the Office of Energy and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission were developing a strategy for implementing the Aboriginal Community Power Procurement Process.
He said it was likely to be modelled on the Regional Power Procurement Process (RPPP) and designed to take advantage of any synergies with the RPPP.
The RPPP had seen the introduction of natural gas as alternative fuel in the Kimberley.
“The independent power producers who tender to provide power to three Aboriginal communities may take advantage of gas,” Mr Barnett said
“They will also be able to apply for funds from the Remote Renewable Power Generation Program.”
Media contact: Diana Callander 9222 9699