Investors call for urgent planning framework reforms in NSW

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Clean Energy Investor Group (CEIG) has warned the NSW government that it risks missing out on both the rewards of a faster transition to a renewable energy grid and meeting its own targets, unless it makes essential reforms to its planning framework.

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The draft planning framework, on which stakeholders were invited to make submissions, requires significant amendments to ensure the state can attract investors and NSW can meet its own renewable energy targets.

In December, CEIG released a report with leading international law firm Herbert Smith Freehills reviewing the NSW planning approvals process to inform the Delivering Major Clean Energy Projects in NSW report.

The report found that average approval times for State significant development renewable energy projects have blown out or lag behind other Australian jurisdictions, which is delaying NSW’s efforts to achieve a 70% cut to emissions by 2035.

CEIG CEO Simon Corbell said, “The Draft Guidelines lack an expedited assessment process for clean energy and transmission projects, reduced costs and increased certainty for investors that NSW needs.

“The very real risk is that investors will look elsewhere and NSW won’t meet its emission reduction targets. CEIG recognises this is due to the 10 years of inaction on the part of the previous NSW government, nevertheless it is a critical issue that now needs to be addressed.

“The good news is that the NSW government can fast track major clean energy projects by leveraging the existing critical state significant infrastructure declaration process as well as streamlining the development application process.

“We can have our cake and eat it too on renewables—good quality consultation, robust approvals process and meeting our clean energy targets are all within our grasp.

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“Investors want it, voters want it and the planet simply cannot wait for unnecessary bureaucratic red tape to be taken out of the equation.”

The Clean Energy Investor Group submission into the planning guidelines is available here.

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