26 September 2023

Agencies to tread a greener pathway

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The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation has announced the establishment of the Green Energy Approvals Initiative, a cross-Agency project that will streamline the pathway for environmental assessments, reducing project approval timeframes.

The Initiative’s team will overhaul the State’s approach to environmental approvals while delivering coordinated, cross-Government support for proponents and investors.

Minister for the Environment, Reece Whitby said the aim was to drive investment in wind and solar power generators, renewable hydrogen industries, lithium mining and critical minerals processing, as well as manufacturing green energy products such as batteries, electrolysers, solar panels and wind turbines.

“More than 40 green energy projects are currently being assessed or regulated by the Department, with a further 30-plus proposals expected to be referred for assessment over the next 12 months,” Mr Whitby said.

“A significant number of these projects will be targeted by the Initiative in the coming weeks to allow processes to be trialled and optimised.”

He said renewable hydrogen proposals made up the largest number of green energy projects in the assessment pipeline. Wind energy, lithium mining and critical minerals processing proposals also represented a significant portion.

“A Green Energy Major Projects Group is being established within the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation as a first point of contact to help steer projects and investors through Government processes,” Mr Whitby said.

“The creation of a Green Energy Expert Panel, comprising Government and industry representatives, will provide the independent Environmental Protection Authority with the information needed to progress approvals in a timely manner.”

He said suitable candidates for the Initiative were being sourced from national and international markets with recruitment nearing completion.

“Our vision is for Western Australia to become a world leader in renewable energy without compromising our State’s unique biodiversity. Green energy projects are critical to our renewable energy transition,” the Minister said.

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