NSW Labor promises Australia’s biggest renewables rollout

Brexit, climate bond, solar PV, Acciona, Labor, renewables

The New South Wales Labor party has announced that if elected on March 23, it will deliver the biggest renewable energy pledge Australia has ever seen.

New South Wales Labor says it will build a new state-owned and run renewable energy company, supply half a million new rooftop solar systems and support investment in 6 gigawatts of renewable power.

4 gigawatts of renewables will be commissioned in its first 4-year term, subject to consultation with AEMO, industry and consumers.

NSW Labor says its policy will:

  • Power more than three million homes (more than are currently in NSW);
  • Create 13,485 direct jobs in regional NSW;
  • Generate $9.5 billion in capital investment and $5 billion in additional economic benefits; and
  • Cut greenhouse gas emissions by 15 million tonnes, or 12 per cent of current NSW emissions.

Last week, NSW Labor announced that if elected it will deliver 500,000 new solar homes through a new $2,200 rebate.

The Smart Energy Council has welcomed the announcement with CEO John Grimes saying the announcement is an absolute game changer.

“If this policy is implemented, NSW will go from laggard to leader,” he said.

“We are facing a climate change emergency and we need to do whatever we can to shift NSW’s energy generation to renewables. NSW Labor has delivered a smart plan for a smart energy future.”

Energy Networks Australia said the promises emerging from the NSW election campaign are commendable, but the lack of consideration of the impact on the electricity grid is a concern.

Energy Networks Australia CEO Andrew Dillon said political commitments announced so far had contained scant information about how the huge increase in solar and storage was to be properly integrated into the grid to ensure security and reliability of power supplies.

“Energy network businesses are working hard to ensure the incredible growth we are seeing in renewable resources can be integrated into the grid in a safe and smart way,” he said.

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“This is why Energy Networks Australia and the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) are working on the Open Energy Networks project.

“Open Energy Networks is investigating options to improve the electricity system to ensure household solar and storage work in harmony with a grid that was never designed for two way energy flows. As we move to greener grids, this work will help ensure reliable supply and lower household power bills.”

Energy Networks Australia is consulting with a wide range of stakeholders on the Open Energy Networks project and will be talking with political parties in the lead up to the NSW and Federal Elections for further understanding of their policies.

“We have to get this right. Renewables are a vital part of our energy future yet present their own challenges if not properly planned and managed,” Mr Dillon said.