Australia's biggest wind power project is to be established at Esperance.
The go-ahead for the $5.2 million windfarm was announced by Fuel and Energy Minister Geoff Gallop today.
The project will supply up to 14 per cent of Esperance's electricity needs.
"It is believed the windfarm will make Western Australia the leading wind-power generator in the southern hemisphere," Dr Gallop said.
"And the project firmly establishes SECWA's position as Australia's leading wind power utility. Wind power has the potential to reduce SECWA's power generation costs and fuel used in country towns like Esperance, with their own diesel power stations.
"SECWA has accepted a $4.2 million tender by Australian Defence Industries Ltd to design, manufacture, supply, install and commission the 2MW windfarm at Esperance's 10-Mile Lagoon.
"SECWA work, such as a 14km powerline, access roads and new equipment at the Esperance power station will add $1 million to the cost of the project."
Since 1987, SECWA has operated Australia's only commercial windfarm at Salmon Beach, near the new facility.
The success of that windfarm indicated there could be wider applications for other remote communities where the cost of providing electricity is high.
SECWA has an extensive wind-monitoring program throughout the State to determine possible sites for future projects.
Wind-monitoring stations are located at 10 towns, from Onslow to Albany to Mount Magnet and Lake Lefroy, near Kambalda.
At least two years of data on wind resources are needed to help determine whether a site is suitable for wind generation.
Dr Gallop said SECWA's team of wind-power researchers led Australia in this exciting area of renewable energy.
"The new Esperance windfarm will have nine 225-kilowatt wind turbine generators made by a Danish company, Vestas," he said.
"The 27-metre blades will be mounted on 30-metre towers and will make an impressive sight overlooking the Southern Ocean.
"It will save up to 1.6 million litres of fuel oil a year which would otherwise be used at the town's power station. The windfarm is due to be completed in August 1993."
The project has been given clearance by Environment Minister Jim McGinty.
Mr McGinty said SECWA had given commitments to keep the environmental impact of the wind farm to a minimum.
"Powerlines, roads and buildings will be located to minimise their visibility from outside the project area and steps will be taken to control erosion. During construction, strict hygiene measures will be imposed to avoid the introduction of dieback and weeds to the area," he said.
Mr McGinty said a condition of the development was the submission of an environmental management program by SECWA.
The Environmental Protection Authority recommended approval for the wind farm in a report released last month.