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Boosting renewable energy zones in NSW

Climate Change Authority

Solar, wind and battery projects in two of New South Wales’ Renewable Energy Zones (REZs) have been given a big boost, with the state government opening new access schemes to accelerate their connection to the energy grid.

In the Central-West Orana REZ near Dubbo and the South West REZ around Hay, access rights are being offered to provide certainty for investors. These rights set limits on the number of generation and storage projects able to connect to network infrastructure in each zone.

The Energy Corporation of NSW will allocate initial rights in the Central-West Orana, while renewable projects in the South West can bid for access as part of a tender process run by AEMO Services commencing in Q2 2024.

Successful renewable projects will pay a fee, with a portion directed to community benefits and employment programs in the host REZs.

NSW State Climate Change and Energy Minister Penny Sharpe said the access schemes mark a significant milestone under the state’s Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap.

“It will ensure we make the best use of new transmission lines to reduce bills, improve planning for host communities and deliver local jobs,” Sharpe said.

“Directing part of the fee back into these areas will guarantee residents and businesses see tangible benefits well into the future.”

The announcement follows the NSW government’s previous commitment of $128 million over four years for community benefits in the Central-West Orana REZ to accelerate rewards before construction starts.

REZs combine renewables like solar and wind, storage such as batteries, and high-voltage transmission to connect to the grid in areas with abundant energy resources.

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