Solar hybrid powering SKA stargazing

Geraldton MLA Ian Blayney has welcomed the announcement that State Government had approved regional energy provider Horizon Power to execute a power supply agreement with the CSIRO for the supply of electricity to the observatory.

Site works will soon start on the construction of a diesel-solar hybrid power station that will support the world-leading telescopes at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO).

"This agreement helps deliver the Government's broader commitment for the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) and Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) radio telescopes, which are precursors to the international Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project," Premier Colin Barnett said.

"The eyes of the world are on Western Australia as the observatory is already producing outstanding scientific results in advance of the SKA."

Dr Nahan said Horizon Power would start site works in January on a two megawatt solar-diesel hybrid station at the observatory, about 315 kilometres north-east of Geraldton, which will provide power for the world-class scientific radioastronomy research facility.

"The project draws on Horizon Power's experience to deliver remote renewable hybrid power solutions and develops a capability that can be leveraged to other projects," he said.

Regional Development Minister Terry Redman said the new power station was supported by a $10 million investment from Royalties for Regions and the partnership with the cutting-edge scientific project would boost the region's profile.

"Royalties for Regions is about strengthening and growing our regions and helping regional communities realise their economic potential through the delivery of projects such as this," Mr Redman said.

A further $5.5 million has been invested by the State Government from consolidated revenue.