Investors register 17 GW of renewable energy projects for Illawarra REZ

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The New South Wales government said the Illawarra Renewable Energy Zone (REZ), centred around the steel city of Wollongong south of Sydney, has attracted $43 billion worth of potential investments in response to a call for expressions of interest for large-scale energy and green manufacturing projects.

Treasurer and Energy Minister Matt Kean said the state had received commercial interest to develop 44 projects, including wind, solar, energy storage, pumped hydro and green hydrogen production totalling 17 GW of capacity.

“The response has been tremendous, with particularly strong interest in offshore wind, energy storage technologies and green hydrogen,” he said.

“The Illawarra REZ will help deliver cheap and reliable energy, power existing industries, support emerging industries to thrive and create thousands of new jobs in the future.”

The proposals include five large-scale solar projects, 16 energy storage projects, including 11 batteries, and four pumped-hydro projects. Investors have also proposed eight offshore and two onshore wind energy projects, and three new “load projects” including green steel manufacturing.

“This highlights the variety of large-scale energy projects being developed in the region, that will ensure the Illawarra plays a role as the powerhouse of the renewable energy economy,” Kean said.

The Illawarra REZ will look to utilise existing industrial infrastructure,

Image: Cement Australia

The Illawarra 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.

The Energy Corporation of NSW (EnergyCo), the government-controlled authority appointed to lead the delivery of the REZs, said the information provided through the ROI will be used to inform the timing, capacity, design and location of the Illawarra REZ and is the first step in engaging with industry on its design.

EnergyCo said it will now work closely with industry, local government, local communities and other stakeholders to progress the design and delivery of the REZ.

The Illawarra REZ is expected to be formally declared under the NSW government’s Electricity Roadmap legislation by the end of 2022.

REZs are also being developed in the South-West, Hunter-Central Coast, New England and Central-West Orana regions and are expected to bring at least 12 GW of renewable energy and 2 GW of storage online.

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