NSW Govt launches ‘energy superpower plan’

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More than 9000 jobs and $32 billion of private investment is expected to roll into the regions by 2030, under the NSW Government’s Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap, released today.

The Roadmap lays out the Government’s 20-year plan to deliver Renewable Energy Zones, energy storage such as pumped hydro, and on demand supply like gas and batteries, needed to reduce emissions and provide cheap, reliable electricity across the State.

Deputy Premier John Barilaro said the Roadmap will deliver Australia’s first Renewable Energy Zones in the Central West and New England regions by 2030. 

“The stimulus the Renewable Energy Zones will provide to regional communities will unlock over 9,000 new jobs and will be a huge boost to farmers and land owners, with $1.5 billion in lease payments expected to go to landholders hosting new infrastructure by 2042,” Mr Barilaro said.  

“The Roadmap will make sure that renewables are developed where regional communities want them and where they are compatable with farming.”

Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the Roadmap will grow the economy, create jobs and deliver an expected $32 billion of private sector investment in electricity infrastructure by 2030, part of the NSW Government’s COVID-19 Recovery Plan. 

“Coming out of this crisis, not only are we stimulating the economy to create jobs now, we are looking towards the reforms NSW needs to secure our future,” Mr Perrottet said. 

“This is a big productivity reform, with the Roadmap projected to deliver NSW some of the cheapest energy prices in the OECD and shore up our energy security.”

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Energy Minister Matt Kean said the Roadmap will support the private sector to bring 12 gigawatts of renewable energy and 2 gigawatts of storage, such as pumped hydro, online by 2030. 

“Our priority is to keep the lights on and get power prices down, with the Roadmap forecast to save NSW households an average of $130 and small businesses an average of $430 on their electricity bills each year,” Mr Kean said. 

“NSW has some of the best natural resources in the world and this Roadmap is about acting now to leverage our competitive advantage and to position NSW as an energy superpower.”  

Water Minister Melinda Pavey said the Roadmap includes $50 million in grants to support the delivery of pumped hydro projects.

“Pumped hydro is a proven form of large-scale storage and NSW has some fantastic pumped hydro opportunities,” Ms Pavey said. 

“This plan delivers the long term certainty needed for the private sector to invest now and drive jobs and investment in the regions.”

Member for Dubbo Dugald Saunders said the Roadmap cements the region as the renewable hub of the future.

“Our community is thrilled to have the State’s first Renewable Energy Zone right here in the Central West unlocking opportunities for jobs and investment that will be the foundation for our future prosperity,” Mr Saunders said.  

The Roadmap sets out a plan to modernise the state’s electricity infrastructure by:

  1. Cutting red-tape and speeding up approvals for transmission infrastructure in Renewable Energy Zones, while protecting the interests of consumers,
  2. Creating a long term investment signal for new generation in Renewable Energy Zones, long duration storage such as pumped hydro, and on demand supply, like gas and batteries, and
  3. Making sure that renewable projects proceed where local communities want them and in ways that are consistent with farming.

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The Clean Energy Council has welcomed the Roadmap, saying it sets NSW up to be Australia’s number one destination for renewable energy investment for the coming decade.

“It will provide tremendous confidence to private investors about when and where new generation is needed, while resolving a number of the key barriers to investment, such as access to the necessary transmission capacity, investment certainty through long-term energy services agreements and addressing slow and costly planning processes,” Clean Energy Council chief executive Kane Thornton said.

“In doing so, the Berejiklian Government will unlock $32 billion of new investment in regional NSW and support an estimated 6300 construction jobs and 2800 ongoing jobs.

“This will be transformative for the central west and New England communities, providing long-term employment pathways in the clean energy sector and creating greater resilience for regional and farming communities through landholder payments and community benefit schemes.

“Importantly, it also demonstrates that the clean energy transition will not cost consumers more, but rather save households $130 per year on their electricity bills.

The Energy Users Association of Australia however expressed concerns over the roadmap, stating it wouldn’t be good for national policy ambitions.

“The EUAA has expressed concern that the NSW Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap is another example of a state government taking independent action instead of working to consolidate a nationally consistent approach to energy policy,” it said in a statement.

“While we recognise that developing a national approach to energy policy has been a difficult process, we continue to engage in good faith with the ESB, industry stakeholders and other market bodies to achieve a positive outcome via the Post 2025 market design process,” EUAA CEO Andrew Richards said.

For further information and to view the Roadmap visit: https://energy.nsw.gov.au/government-and-regulation/electricity-infrastructure-roadmap.