A new $18.2m Western Power depot was officially opened in Albany on Tuesday to replace the Kelly Street depot which was nearing 50 years old. Energy Minister Bill Johnston opened the facility alongside Western Power chief executive Sam Barbaro. Mr Johnston said the depot would be a central hub for energy services in the region and provide “world-class” facilities for Western Power employees. “It will safeguard the energy future for Western Australians living and working in the Great Southern while providing a purpose-built safe working environment for employees and continued employment for people in the region,” he said. “The facility emphasises the McGowan Government’s commitment to transforming the South-West Interconnected System to ensure we deliver a safe, reliable, affordable and increasingly greener energy future for all Western Australians.” The newly opened depot has been named Kinjarling Pindjarri by Western Power through consultation with Menang Noongar traditional owners. It means Albany power and lightning. The depot also features a prominent mural by Errol Eades depicting the distinct Stirling Ranges, with the original artwork hanging inside and a replica of the artwork adorning the exterior of the building. As part of the official opening proceedings, a number of songs were performed by Karla Hart accompanied by the Kwarbah Djookian dance group. The new “state-of-the-art” depot dwarfs its neighbouring brown-brick predecessor. Mr Barbaro said equipment within the industry had grown bigger over time and more space was needed to ensure the power corporation could work most efficiently. “It’s been difficult to accommodate our equipment at the old depot and we’ve now got state-of-the-art facilities for all of that,” he said. “There are certain things we need to do for our work including testing our trucks to make sure they are properly earthed, which is obviously difficult to do if they’re wet and now we can have them undercover to do proper safety checks. We also have a workshop where we can continue to do repairs to our equipment to keep our crews on the road by doing a lot of that work in house.” Ground was broken in January 2021 with construction by Wauters Building Company starting on site later that year. It was originally a $16m project, but COVID-19-related delays, building-cost pressures and supply chain challenges contributed to the final $18.2m cost. The depot accommodates about 60 full-time employees and has room to allow for further growth.