Greenhouse emissions fall
Greenhouse gas emissions from WA's main electricity grid appear to be in decline amid falling demand for energy and more green power from sources such as solar panels and wind farms.
Mirroring results from the Eastern States, electricity provider Synergy has revealed that total greenhouse gas emissions fell more than 2 per cent in the 12 months to June 15.
Emissions over the period fell from 8.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent to 8.4 million tonnes, while there was an even bigger 26 per cent decrease compared with 2008-09.
There was also a fall in the amount of carbon being pumped into the atmosphere for every unit of electricity that was produced by Synergy. Despite the result, WA continues to be one of the world's biggest emitters on a per person basis.
According to Synergy, reasons for the fall included WA's first large-scale solar power plant and a big wind farm near Geraldton coming online last year.
A spokesman noted the utility had generated more electricity from its cleaner gas-fired power stations, while closing a coal-fuelled generating unit earlier than expected. Adding to the turnaround had been an unprecedented fall in electricity demand across Australia.
The trend, which bucked decades of uninterrupted growth and has confounded industry players, has been caused by sharply higher power prices, more efficient energy appliances and rampant demand for rooftop solar panels. Another cause has been the recent closure of energy-hungry manufacturing plants.
Conservation Council of WA director Piers Verstegen welcomed the figures as good news and suggested the trend would continue on the back of the growing viability of renewable power.
But Mr Verstegen also queried whether falling electricity emissions from increased gas-fired generation reflected the overall picture, noting the production of gas was particularly energy intensive in the first place.
"It's good to see they're coming down but we should be cautious we're not just moving emissions to other parts of the supply system," he said.