Home

Latest News

Check out our latest news here

Our Definition of Sustainable Energy

SEN defines Sustainable Energy as energy that is renewable within a human lifetime and can be produced safely and equitably for all time with minimal impact on the environment and future inhabitants. We believe this does not include nuclear power with its many unresolved issues.

Our Focus

We are working to raise awareness of how a mix of renewable energy technologies are able to meet all of Western Australia’s electricity needs, with a particular focus on WA’s main electricity grid, called the South West Interconnected System (SWIS). The renewable energy types that we believe are most suited to WA include: solar and wind.

Our Actions

We provide presentations to government agencies, corporations, schools, community groups and politicians, as well as running display stands at public events, writing letters to the media, producing and distributing information leaflets and disseminating information via this website.

In addition, we host regular free public talks by leaders in the renewable energy field at our general meetings. Click here for more details on SEN Presents.

Our current activities can be classed under these key areas:

Promote: Promoting an understanding of the available renewable energy technologies and resources appropriate for Western Australia. This has included submissions and reports to a number of government inquiries, available here.

Research: Conducting ongoing research into renewable energy technologies and resources regarding their potential to meet WA's electricity needs.

Simulate: Developing a computer simulation that demonstrates how all of the demand on the SWIS may be met by a mix of renewable energy sources. Users are able to explore potential locations for wind, wave and solar farms, biomass and geothermal power plants and model various sizes of these plants to meet electricity demand. Graphics show energy supply versus grid demand and the cost of the various scenarios. For more information and to try out our simulation go to our simulation page.

Educate and advocate: Presenting information about renewable energies to the general public, politicians, government agencies, corporations, community groups and schools via presentations, our simulation, this website, leaflets, educational resources and other publications. Submissions available here.

Our Member Body

The SEN team consists of volunteers from a wide range of backgrounds, including energy science and policy, physics, geophysics, engineering, computer programming, information technology, management, graphic design, marketing and media. We all share a passion for sustainability and renewable energy. We are not aligned with any political party and are keen to broaden our membership and committee. View/update your membership details or find out more about our committee and our working groups

 


 

How much progress has been made in WA transitioning the SWIS to renewables?

Last calendar year, 2021, renewables made up 32% of the energy mix delivered on the SWIS grid. This was made up of wind (12.9%), rooftop solarPV (12.1%) and utility scale solarPV (0.8%). The remaining 68% of energy served on the SWIS was made up from fossil fuel generation sources. These were coal (36.4%) and gas (37.3%). By comparison in the National Energy Market (NEM) which covers the eastern states, SA and Tasmania, renewables made up 31.4% of the mix, coal 62.8% and gas 5.7% of the mix. 

 

  

Growth of renewables & decline of fossil fuels, 2016 - 2021 

Wind energy saw considerable growth from 2019-21, however there are no new wind projects under construction or with a financial green light. Emerging transmission constraints to favourable resource locations in the north may be a limiting factor.

Rooftop solar has continued to grow off the small base in 2015 but is facing the dual headwinds of changes to Synergy's Feed in Tariffs (FiTs) for new installers and the rapidly increasing saturation of the midday energy market from PV. These constraints on wind and solar going forward indicate that renewables are not on track to meet full decarbonisation of the SWIS this decade (or even a high level like 90%).

 

Energy produced on the SWIS grid by technology type, 2016 - 2021 

A large amount of wind energy was as added from 2019-21 with three new wind farms commissioned in the north of the SWIS. This followed six years of no additions of wind at all 2014-18. Rooftop solar continues to grow year on year and accounts for the largest addition of renewables by technology type over the past six years.

Significant energy market reforms are required in WA to facilitate the development of new wind farm development and load-shifting storage to make best use of existing and new PV exports. Other states in Australia (Vic, NSW, QLD) are embracing Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) planning. REZs are a way of driving the new infrastructure required to support development of new utility scale wind, solar and storage can become feasible and sufficiently de-risked commercially. This creates the opportunities such that private developers and state owned developers (e.g. Clean Co and Snowy Hydro) can move forwards with confidence for large scale renewables and storage projects that typically have 20-40 year lifespans.

In comparison, the state leading on the renewables transition, South Australia, wind energy makes up the largest component of their grid energy mix with 41% from 22 operational wind farm, 2 more under construction and a (claimed) ~7 GW under development. Rooftop PV solar is 14% of their mix and utility solar accounted for 5% in 2020-21 from 4 solar farms and 2 more under construction and (claimed) ~8 GW under development. South Australia has 4 operational battery energy storage systems (BESS) and two under construction for more than 200MW installed capacity. BESS accounted for 0.6% of electricity generated in the State in 2020-21. A further 4GW of BESS projects are under development.

 

Graph data sourced from OpenNEM, additional data RenewablesSA.