Ploughing $135 million into renewable energy rather than a Bunbury to Albany gas pipeline would provide cheaper energy in the long term, according to Greens candidate for Albany Diane Evers.
She believes alternative power sources such as wind, wave and geothermal would better future-proof the region’s power supply and prove cheaper in the long run.
“Bringing the pipeline here and having gas-fired power is not going to make it cheaper for residents and businesses,” Ms Evers said.
The Liberal-National Government announced details of the 350km pipeline last October, with construction slated to start in 2014 at a cost of $135 million.
It was originally a Liberal promise before the 2008 State election, with construction then planned to start last year.
South West Greens candidate Giz Watson is calling for a cost-benefit analysis of the pipeline.
“You need to compare what electricity you can generate from renewable sources for that kind of money,” she said. “That’s the comparison you need to do to find out if a gas pipeline is the way to go.”
Ms Watson said wave and wind power would be there in perpetuity when gas ran out.
Albany Liberal candidate Trevor Cosh said the gas would provide a consistent energy supply that may not be available from wind power.
“If you’re going to attract industry of any size we need gas,” Mr Cosh said.
Labor MP Peter Watson questioned the demand for gas.
“The only big business that was going to be here was Grange Resources,” Mr Watson said.
Grange rejected a State Government push to use gas to power the company’s Southdown magnetite iron ore project which has since been mothballed.
Premier Colin Barnett said the pipeline would improve flexibility for customers.“A key benefit of gas as a power source, unlike coal, is its ability to be turned on (and) off relatively quickly and inexpensively,” he said.