Western Power recently announced a fit-for-purpose streamlined process for industry energy connections as part of its drive to support industry and the WA community to reach net-zero.
With the rapid growth in demand for renewable energy from both the community and industry, Western Power has been reviewing its connection processes to see where improvements could be made to facilitate changing business demands.
Western Power Acting Executive Manager of Energy Transition & Sustainability Andrew Blaver said the improved process would provide greater flexibility, increase transparency and reduced wait times for customers and, most importantly, help meet growing renewable generation demands associated with greater decarbonisation of the electricity system.
“New initiatives include enabling customer self-serve, providing the opportunity for customers to engage external consultants to undertake critical network studies, delivering standardised work packages, enabling third party led design and construction of required infrastructure and refreshing internal work practices
and frameworks,” he said.
Mr Blaver said the review and subsequent proposed changes were critical in preparing the network for the significant increase in large scale connection enquiries, and changes in the wholesale energy market.
“We want to deliver a more flexible and streamlined connection process for major customers to better facilitate the transformation of the energy sector that is currently underway,” he said.
“The demand from industry is accelerating and changing - we recently received our first-generation enquiries for one gigawatt of capacity, connection applications for combined load, generator and battery storage connections, and the first offshore wind farm application.
“This demonstrates the significant uplift in large complex customer connections and the changing expectations on delivery timeframes,” Mr Blaver said.
Extensive industry and government consultation was undertaken as part of the review, and continues today, to ensure better outcomes.
“We’ve been working with key stakeholders including Energy Policy Western Australia (EPWA) and the Economic Regulation Authority Western Australia (ERA) to implement process changes,” Mr Blaver said.
“Engagement with our customers is a key focus for us and we’ll be seeking further involvement and feedback from industry as we begin to implement the changes.”
The process improvement initiatives will be implemented via a phased delivery over the next 12 months.