Labor backs up pledge on wave energy project

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The State Government has its sights set on turning Albany into Australia’s first renewable energy-powered city, according to Minister for Regional Development Alannah MacTiernan.

The Labor Government pledged $19.5 million to develop infrastructure associated with a wave energy farm in Albany in the lead-up to the March election.

Ms MacTiernan met with energy industry stakeholders and representatives from the University of Western Australia in Albany last Friday to begin the planning process for the Wave Energy Centre of Excellence.

“We aim to have the project under way in the next 18 months,” she said.

“We want to see Albany become Australia’s first renewable energy city.”

Ms MacTiernan indicated the funding would cover a range of components and generate significant employment for the local labour market.

“The $19.5 million investment will be spent on supporting establishment of a wave energy farm, establishing the Wave Energy Centre of Excellence, and on common-user infrastructure to connect wave energy to the grid,” she said.

“The project will create about 140 direct jobs during construction.

“It is too early to put a figure on the number of long-term jobs, but it is clear there is much potential for local employment through this project.

“We have great hopes that we can be world leaders in this technology and that we can make Albany and the Great Southern a true hub of renewable energy.”

Carnegie Clean Energy will headline the wave energy farm and development officer Tim Sawyer said the project had been in the pipeline for nearly a decade.

“We’ve been working on an Albany wave project for the best part of 10 years,” he said.

“It’s very exciting that the Government has made a commitment to wave energy and the centre of excellence in Albany and we look forward to developing a wave energy industry in WA focussed firmly on Albany.”

Ms MacTiernan also took part in a Meet the Minister forum with residents at Albany Entertainment Centre on Friday night.

Major issues covered included agriculture, arts and culture, higher education and the environment.

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