Energy Minister Bill Johnston arcs up over power debate

Elise Van Aken & Geoff VivianMidwest Times
WA Energy Minister Bill Johnston.
Camera IconWA Energy Minister Bill Johnston. Credit: Kelsey Reid/The West Australian, Kelsey Reid

WA’s energy minister has bit back at the Member for Moore, who said the State Government should admit it was wrong for attempting to close the infrastructure that kept power on in the Mid West following Cyclone Seroja.

In Parliament last Thursday, Shane Love asked Labor’s Bill Johnston that considering Geraldton and the surrounding towns’ recent reliance on the Mungarra gas turbines, would he admit the Australian Energy Market Operator was right when it forced the Government to backflip on its decision to close the plant?

“That was turned into a network control service generator by Western Power ... which is why it is still available,” Mr Johnston said.

“It is a network support generator. When it was closed by the Liberal and National parties, it was closed as part of the cap placed on Synergy’s generation fleet by (former Liberal leader) Mike Nahan.”

The AEMO and Western Power worked together to keep it on what is called an NCS generator.

“I visited the Mungarra gas facility, as I did the solar farm next door. They are important pieces of infrastructure in our energy system and they continue to provide important services.”

“That is what NCS services are designed to do.

Mr Johnston said the Government was “spending tens of millions of dollars” on the South West Interconnected System, which powers most of the Mid West.

Mr Love said Labor had not learnt from its previous decision, which would have left the Mid West even more vulnerable.

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