Kununurra's power needs could be met through hydro-electric generation within three years, according to Fuel and Energy Minister Geoff Gallop.
Dr Gallop said today he supported the development of a hydro-electric facility capable of producing about 16 megawatts on the Ord River at the Kununurra Diversion Dam.
"This would produce ample power for Kununurra's existing needs as well as providing for the town's electricity well into the future," Dr Gallop said.
The Minister's comments followed a visit to the Kimberley last week during which he inspected potential hydro-generation sites on the Ord River.
Dr Gallop said that SECWA was working with the WA Water Authority on preliminary studies and provided the project was economically feasible, a construction contract could be awarded within a year.
He said construction of the plant should take no longer than two years.
"The needs of irrigation and upstream users of water from the diversion dam will be satisfied before water is used for power generation."
Dr Gallop said that Kununurra was SECWA's second largest remote area power station but the cost of power generation was significantly higher than the tariff charged.
A change from a diesel-fired power station to hydro-generation would see costs reduced to a level which was compatible with electricity tariffs.