NSW announces inaugural tender for ambitious grid transformation


The NSW state government has announced its first tender to secure renewable projects to transform its still coal-reliant energy system, fitting out the state with renewable energy zones or REZs as well as deep storage. 

Managed by AEMO Services, the tender is set to open on October 4 and run until October 28. 

The state requires bidding projects to achieve commercial operation by January 2025, while the long-duration storage projects are to be up and running by the beginning of 2027. 

The state government has also supplied a draft tender pack to give industry a clear idea of criteria, which include stipulations about community engagement and benefits, regional jobs and land use considerations.

Since enacting its NSW Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap, the government said more than 3.6 GW of energy investment has been committed or ‘anticipated’ across NSW. “AEMO Services expect nearly all of these projects to be eligible to participate,” the government’s press release said.

“Many, many more projects have also sufficiently progressed through the development pipeline and are likely to be eligible.”

Projects across the state will be able to participate for “Long-Term Energy Service Agreements” – a scheme the government is using to underwrite projects by providing financial security. 

While renewable energy zones are a cornerstone of the state’s roadmap, only Access Rights for the Central-West Orana Renewable Energy Zone, in the state’s north-west, will open in this tender round.

While the desired size of the tender round is 2,500 GWh for annual generation and 600 MW of long-duration storage, more or less generation and storage will be considered if it is “in the long-term financial interests of NSW electricity consumers to do so.”

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