The New South Wales Government has confirmed that expressions of interest for the $79 million, 8 GW New England REZ will be called by the end of March with proponents of proposed, planned or operational renewable energy projects encouraged to register their interest.
Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall said the move is the first step of the long planning process and establishing the REZ is a monumental undertaking and will take several years to plan, design and build and will be delivered in stages.
“The registration of interest process will help the government understand the scale, location and types of projects considering joining the New England renewable energy zone,” he said.
“The information provided will support technical design, planning and further market engagement on the zone.”
The New England REZ is one of five renewable energy zones included in the NSW Government’s electricity “road map“, which will support more than $32 billion of investment in renewable energy generation, storage and transmission in the state.
REZs will also be developed in the South-West, Hunter-Central Coast, Illawarra and Central-West Orana regions and are expected to bring 12 GW of renewable energy and 2 GW of storage online.
The Central-West Orana REZ, which is tipped to deliver 3 GW of renewable energy, was the first of the REZs to be launched with the call for registrations of interest last year attracting 113 registrations, totalling 27 GW and valued at $38 billion.
Energy Minister Matt Kean said the massive response had triggered an adjustment from the State Government which has committed to investing $78.9 million to support the development of the New England REZ.
“The nine-fold level of interest in the Central-West Orana REZ was astounding, so it makes absolute sense to go even bigger with the New England REZ,” he said.
“The New England REZ will be able to power 3.5 million homes and, when coupled with Central-West Orana REZ, sets the state up to become the number one destination across Australia for renewable energy investment.”
The New England region is already home to a host of large-scale wind and solar projects, generating enough electricity to power more than 250,000 NSW homes.
“With approved projects like the New England Solar Farm at Uralla and Metz Solar Farm at Armidale expected to start construction in the next two years that output is set to explode to well over half a million regular homes,” Marshall said.
“It’s eye watering to think the New England REZ could power a further 3.5 million homes.”
Marshall said the benefits of the New England REZ would extend beyond the renewable energy sector, offering an opportunity for mass investment in things like public roads, telecommunications infrastructure and health services.
“The full development of our region through the zone is expected to be worth around $12.7 billion in private sector investment, 2,000 construction jobs and 1,300 ongoing jobs,” he said.
“I’ve long spoken about renewable energy being the ‘wind-of-change’ for this region and today we can proudly say the hard work put in by the sector’s pioneers has lit the way for a new bright future for our region and beyond.”
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