The New South Wales Government announced on Thursday the registrations of interest (ROI) process for the planned 8 GW New England Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) was open with proponents of new wind, solar and energy storage capacity urged to register their interest.
Energy and Environment Minister Matt Kean said the State Government has committed $78.9 million to support the development of the New England REZ, with the northern NSW city of Armidale at its centre, set to become Australia’s largest renewable energy zone.
“The New England REZ is a fundamental part of our Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap and we expect it will deliver up to 8,000 megawatts of new capacity, $10.7 billion in private investment, around 830 operational jobs and 1,250 construction jobs to the local economy,” he said in a statement.
“Now is the time for all energy infrastructure proponents to register their interest as we take the first vital steps to deliver the New England Renewable Energy Zone.”
The New England REZ is one of five renewable energy zones included in the NSW Government’s electricity Roadmap, which is forecast to support more than $32 billion of private 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.
The New England region has already attracted a host of large-scale wind and solar projects, including the Walcha Energy Project, a 4 GW wind, solar and pumped hydro energy storage hub put forward by Energy Estate and its partners.
Joint venture UPC/AC Renewables Australia has achieved financial close for the first 400 MW stage of the New England Solar Farm while Spanish developer Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV) is progressing with the 115 MW Metz Solar Farm.
Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall welcomed the launch of the ROI process, claiming New England has some of the best natural energy resources in the country.
“The ROI will help ensure the design and delivery of the REZ reflects the unique features of our region, and protects our precious local assets, such as our highly productive agricultural land,” he said.
The ROI is expected to provide vital information for the planning of the New England REZ including the estimated investment value, location and types of projects looking to connect. Early forecasts indicate it will deliver 6,300 construction and 2,800 ongoing jobs, mostly in regional NSW.
“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,” Marshall said.
“The information provided will support technical design, planning and further market engagement on the zone.”
The call for registrations of interest in the New England REZ will close on July 16, 2021.
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