Renewable energy momentum is building with the NSW Government declaring Australia’s second Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) in New England in as many months.
Energy Corporation of NSW CEO, James Hay, said the NSW Government is really powering ahead and meeting major milestones on its Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap with this REZ, which follows declaration of the Central-West Orana in early November 2021.
“REZs are the modern-day equivalent of a power station, combining low cost renewables with back-up energy from storage and transmission to deliver cheap, reliable and clean energy,” Mr Hay said.
“It’s phenomenal to get this REZ declared as New England has some of the best natural energy resources in the country, including some of the state’s best potential sites for pumped-hydro and strong investor interest.
“The New England REZ will drive $10.7 billion in private investment, around 830 operational jobs, as well as 1250 construction jobs each year.”
“The NSW Government has committed to invest $78.9 million to support the development of the New England REZ.”
The declaration for New England REZ is the first step in formalising the REZ under the Electricity Infrastructure Investment Act 2020. It sets out the intended network capacity (size), geographical area (location) and infrastructure that will make up the REZ.
The Energy Corporation of NSW (EnergyCo NSW) will be the infrastructure planner and will coordinate generation, firming, storage and transmission projects, leading the delivery of NSW REZs.
Mr Hay said EnergyCo NSW has and will continue to work with a range of stakeholders in the New England region to deliver the REZ in a way that considers local priorities and values, land use planning, investor interest and the legislative requirements.
“This is great news for the region as the REZ will help drought-proof traditional farming communities and provide new income streams for landholders that host electricity infrastructure,” he said.
“It is estimated that in the New England REZ, this could amount to around $660 million in lease payments for landholders to 2042.
“REZs will also play a key role in delivering on our commitment to halve the State’s emissions by 2030 and achieve net-zero by 2050.”