Joint media release: $3 billion Rewiring the Nation deal to power WA jobs and growth

Anthony Albanese MP, Prime Minister of Australia

Roger Cook MLA, Premier of Western Australia

Chris Bowen MP, Minister for Climate Change and Energy

Bill Johnston MLA, Western Australian Minister for Energy

The Albanese and Cook Governments have signed a landmark agreement to power the next stage of Western Australia's growth with affordable and more secure renewable energy.

The Commonwealth-Western Australia Rewiring the Nation deal will bolster WA’s energy security by expanding and modernising electricity grids in Perth, the South West, as well as in the North West Pilbara region.

The Albanese Government will provide up to $3 billion through concessional loans and equity investments to WA through the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) to new builds and major upgrades to transmission in the state’s major electricity grids – the South West Interconnected System (SWIS) and the North West Interconnected System (NWIS).

Priority projects in these grids were identified through WA’s demand assessment processes, with recent Australian Energy Market Operator modelling supporting the need for sustained investment in transmission infrastructure in the SWIS.

An investment of this scale is expected to support around 1,800 construction jobs and unlock future projects across WA, helping to empower regional communities.

The SWIS is WA’s main electricity network and serves more than 1.1 million residential and business customers in Perth and across the South West. It starts north in Kalbarri, runs through Perth down to Albany in the south and extends to Kalgoorlie in the east.

This deal will finance priority projects across the SWIS to increase the supply of renewable energy and connect it into the grid by plugging in renewable generation hubs.

Initial modelling suggests that in 20 years’ time, the SWIS grid will need to have up to five times more electricity than is available today as new industrial users connect to the grid.

Investing in new energy grid projects will ensure the SWIS remains fit-for-purpose and ensure cleaner, affordable and more reliable energy for West Australians into the future.

The Pilbara’s NWIS consists of largely standalone networks owned by private companies and public entities with only a very small proportion (less than two per cent) of electricity generated from renewables.

This agreement will support more renewable energy in the NWIS, while ensuring existing infrastructure upgrades are coordinated between industries and governments.

This Rewiring the Nation deal builds on the momentum of the Pilbara Industry Roundtable, a significant WA Government-led initiative, which included some of the state’s major resources companies.

It will unlock economic development and speed up decarbonisation by bringing on more renewable energy and sharing it more efficiently across different users.

The Australian and WA Governments will work closely with First Nations Australians to understand their views on this investment and support their participation in the state’s clean energy transformation.

Quotes attributable to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese:

“Today we are joining forces with the Cook Government on a $3 billion landmark deal to deliver affordable cleaner energy to West Australians.

“Rewiring the Nation will help future proof WA’s energy supply, while also creating new jobs in energy, mining and manufacturing.

“On the weekend I visited Karratha and saw firsthand the economic power of the Pilbara – as the global economy decarbonises we need to provide opportunities for regions like the Pilbara to be powered by as much renewable energy as possible.”

Quotes attributable Premier of Western Australia Roger Cook:

“In WA we are delivering on our sensible and achievable plan to decarbonise our existing industries and create new clean energy industries as we transition to net zero, unlocking new projects while supporting new and ongoing local jobs.

“This significant package means we can accelerate the development of key energy transmission projects to facilitate decarbonisation, while also building on my Government’s climate action plan and initiatives already underway towards more secure, cleaner, reliable and affordable energy supplies.

“I thank the Commonwealth Government for its confidence in WA and the way in which they have approached negotiations for a Rewiring the Nation allocation for WA, and I want to acknowledge the efforts of WA Energy Minister Bill Johnston for spearheading the concept and undertaking consultation to garner the support and commitment of key industry players in WA.”

Quotes attributable to Climate Change and Energy Minister Chris Bowen:

"This announcement is about driving cheaper, more reliable energy in WA and setting the state up for years to come.

“Renewable energy is the cheapest form of energy and the Rewiring the Nation deal will put downward pressure on electricity bills for WA consumers in the years ahead.

“The Australian and West Australian Governments are enabling WA to capitalise on the renewable energy transformation and make the most of the incredible jobs opportunity that comes with it.”

Quotes attributable to Western Australia Minister for Energy Bill Johnston:

“The agreement has been informed by WA Government modelling, specifically from the South West Interconnected System Demand Assessment and the Pilbara Industry Roundtable process, and I thank private industry for their commitment to undertake a crucial role in decarbonisation.

“It is expected the private sector will largely fund the cost of renewable energy generation and transmission infrastructure in the Pilbara, to the tune of tens of billions of dollars over the coming decades.

“The low-cost finance program will help unlock this significant investment.

“Keeping Western Power in public hands has allowed the State Government to support this significant program of works by funding transmission infrastructure in the SWIS - where we have already funded $126 million in the recent Budget to kickstart early network planning.”