Ageing coal-fired infrastructure and a growing private investment appetite for green energy projects are set to power New South Wales' ambitious renewable energy program.
The NSW Government released its Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap today, touting the plan will create more than 9,000 jobs and attract $32 billion of private investment into the state's regions by 2030.
Under the 20-year Roadmap the government plans to create three Renewable Energy Zones in the regions and enourage the building of energy storage such as pumped hydro, and on demand supply like gas and batteries.
The state hopes to bring 12 gigawatts of renewable energy and two gigawatts of storage online in that time.
Deputy Premier John Barilaro said the Roadmap would deliver Australia's first Renewable Energy Zones in the Central West and New England regions by 2030.
"The stimulus the Renewable Energy Zones will provide to regional communities will unlock over 9,000 new jobs and will be a huge boost to farmers and land owners, with $1.5 billion in lease payments expected to go to landholders hosting new infrastructure by 2042," Barilaro said.
"The Roadmap will make sure that renewables are developed where regional communities want them and where they are compatible with farming."
The Roadmap sets out a plan to modernise the State's electricity infrastructure by:
- Cutting red-tape and speeding up approvals for transmission infrastructure in Renewable Energy Zones, while protecting the interests of consumers,
- Creating a long term investment signal for a new generation in Renewable Energy Zones, long duration storage such as pumped hydro, and on demand supply, like gas and batteries, and
- Making sure that renewable projects proceed where local communities want them and in ways that are consistent with farming.
With four of NSW's five coal-fired power stations expected to be mothballed in the next 25 years, accounting for three quarters of the state's electricity supply, renewables will be needed to plug the demand gap.
Energy Minister Matt Kean said the Roadmap would support the private sector.
"Our priority is to keep the lights on and get power prices down, with the Roadmap forecast to save NSW households an average of $130 and small businesses an average of $430 on their electricity bills each year," Kean said.
"NSW has some of the best natural resources in the world and this Roadmap is about acting now to leverage our competitive advantage and to position NSW as an energy superpower."
Private enterprise has already shown its taste for the plan.
In June the NSW Government asked renewable energy, energy storage and emerging energy project proponents to register their interest in the Central West Renewable Energy Zone.
According to the government that request saw proposals for 27,000 megawatts of new energy generation and storage projects, representing a total possible investment of $38 billion through the process.
This was nine times the amount required to deliver the target of 3,000 MW.
"Coming out of this crisis, not only are we stimulating the economy to create jobs now, we are looking toward the reforms NSW needs to secure our future," Perrottet said.
Image by Zsuzsa Bóka from Pixabay.
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