Renewable energy zones get a hurry up

Renewable energy zones (REZ) across NSW have been given a hurry up with the NSW Government throwing more money at the zones to fastrack renewable energy projects.

$1.2 billion has been allocated in the 2022-23 NSW Budge for a Transmission Acceleration Facility to fastrack the renewable energy zones over the next ten years which will become modern day power stations to replace coal-fired power plants.

The Government is keen to see more projects off the ground sooner rather than later with the Liddell Power Station in Muswellbrook scheduled to close next year, Bayswater next door a couple of years later and the Eraring Power Station at Lake Macquarie is closing seven years earlier than expected as well.

Five zones have so far been identified in NSW with one of the REZ’s covering the Hunter and Central Coast areas. The zones will group new wind and solar power generation into locations where it can be efficiently stored and transmitted across NSW.

Treasurer and Minister for Energy Matt Kean said the Zones are modern day power stations providing cheap and clean power for the homes and business of NSW.

“This is the State’s largest ever investment in infrastructure for renewable energy and is expected to help create 2,700 direct construction jobs across the State.”

“We estimate the Facility will drive at least $14 billion in private transmission infrastructure investment with all government contributions to be fully recovered.”

“Energy prices are up because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and unplanned outages at coal-fired power stations. Fast-tracking the construction of renewable energy is the best way to reduce our exposure to these risks and take advantage of cleaner, cheaper power sources.”

There are over 50 large-scale renewable energy projects totalling around 16,000 megawatts currently progressing through the NSW planning system, however many of these projects may never proceed without additional capacity across the State’s transmission network.

The first investment under the Facility will be the Waratah Super Battery, the largest standby network battery in the Southern Hemisphere which will most likely be built on the Lake Munmorah power station site at Lake Macquarie.