Another milestone has been reached in bringing world class renewable energy technology to Western Australia.
Energy Minister Colin Barnett said today that an Integrated Wood Processing (IWP) demonstration plant, to be owned and operated by Western Power, would be built at Narrogin.
Mr Barnett said the $5 million demonstration plant would convert mallee trees grown by local farmers into activated carbon and eucalyptus oil and provide enough renewable energy for 1,000 homes.
It was supported by the Australian Greenhouse Office and the Department of Industry, Science and Resources (AusIndustry).
Western Power was spending $3.34 million on the plant ,while the Federal Government was contributing $1.76 million.
Close collaboration between Western Power and the Oil Mallee Company would help local farmers in the development of commercial mallee crops, fostering a sustainable biomass industry in WA.
The IWP plant would directly address Australia’s two largest environmental threats - salinity and global warming.
“This innovative project will deliver significant long-term benefits, including the production of renewable energy at a competitive cost, “ Mr Barnett said.
“The IWP plant is expected to inject more than $600,000 per year into the local economy when completed.
“Salinity has rendered 10 per cent of Wheatbelt land unproductive and it is predicted that another 30 per cent will be lost in the next 30 years, making Narrogin an ideal location for an IWP demonstration plant.”
Mr Barnett said Western Power would now progress the detailed engineering and site selection and construction would begin within six months.
“At this stage of the process, the demonstration plant is expected to be operational by February 2002,” he said.
Media contact: Diana Callander 9222 9699