NSW and ACT unite to further clean energy outcomes

Regional Australia is pushing the boundaries of what is possible for a clean energy future, with the establishment of a cohesive body that looks after the interests of 16 local government areas, as well as the nation’s capital.

The South East Region of Renewable Energy Excellence (SERREE) is a sustainable energy initiative delivering improved outcomes for renewable energy stakeholders across south-east New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory.

The partnership paves the way for the ACT, which has an ambitious renewable energy target of 90 per cent by 2020, to utilise south-east NSW’s abundant natural resources, including wind, solar, hydro, bioenergy and wave power.

SEREE project officer Craig Hanicek said banding together will bring far better green initiative results than what could be devised solely by government and private enterprise.

“The synergies are there, so really collaboration is a no brainer. It then just becomes a question of how best to do it,” he said.

The SERREE network comprises representatives from federal, state, territory and local governments, business and industry, education, skills training and research institutions, as well as the community sector.

The body is now on an 18-month quest to optimise development of the region’s renewable energy sector and is looking at breaking new ground in the area of sustainability.

Mr Hanicek, who spoke at the All-Energy Australia event in October, said hundreds, potentially thousands, of new jobs will be created in the clean energy space in the next decade.

“Without any shadow of doubt renewable energy initiatives will both strengthen and diversify local economies,” he said.

“Next month work starts on the region’s first – and Australia’s largest – utility-scale solar project, the 20MW Royalla Solar Farm, just south of Tuggeranong in the ACT. That immediately means the creation of around 100 construction jobs. And that is only the start, with another three solar farms and six wind projects in the pipeline.”

Snowy Hydro also continues to be a strong regional employer, with almost 500 people engaged in operating and maintaining the clean energy generators.