WA streamlines approval process for renewables projects

The Western Australian government has moved to fast track the approvals process for green energy projects with a new cross-agency pathway for environmental assessments forecast to reduce project approval timeframes.

The Western Australian government said the $22.5 million (USD 14.96 million) commitment will overhaul the state’s approach to environmental approvals while delivering coordinated, cross-government support for project developers and investors.

The Green Energy Approvals Initiative is aimed at driving investment in wind and solar projects, green hydrogen, lithium mining, critical minerals processing as well as manufacturing of renewable energy products such as batteries, electrolysers, solar panels and wind turbines.

“This new, streamlined approvals pathway will ensure Western Australia continues to be a destination of choice for renewable industry investors,” WA Premier Roger Cook said.

“The whole-of-government Green Energy Approvals Initiative will drive the green industries boom in WA, supporting local jobs and a strong economy into the future. It will draw new investment and improve our renewable energy credentials.”

The state government said more than 40 green energy projects are currently being assessed or regulated by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation with a further 30-plus proposals expected to be referred for assessment over the next 12 months.

It is anticipated a significant number of these projects will be targeted by the new initiative in the coming weeks to allow processes to be trialled and optimised.

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.

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

WA Environment Minister Reece Whitby said the unique cross-agency model would help deliver faster decisions on renewable energy projects.

“Green energy projects are critical to our renewable energy transition,” he said. “This is the next step to support industries in their contribution to global efforts to decarbonise our economy.”

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