The NSW government says it’s received more than 80 registrations of interest from potential renewable energy projects for the state’s biggest Renewable Energy Zone (REZ).
Energy minister Matt Kean says collectively, expressions of interest for the New England REZ represent 34GW of energy, more than four times what’s needed to build the $79 million 8GW zone.
According to the Climate Council, 1 gigawatt is enough to power 300,000 homes.
The New England REZ, centred around Armidale, is one of five being planned for NSW and will be the largest in Australia.
Like the others, it will combine renewable energy generation, storage and poles and wires to deliver energy to homes, businesses and industry.
Registrations of Interest for New England closed on July 23 and the state government-controlled statutory authority tasked with delivering the REZs, EnergyCo, will use data from the ROIs to inform technical design, planning and infrastructure development.
Participation in the REZ will be determined via a competitive tender.
Mr Kean says the overwhelming response to the ROI reflects investor confidence in renewables.
“The overwhelming response shows this is a once in a generation opportunity to attract enormous investment into regional areas, cementing NSW’s renewable energy future,” he said in a statement.
Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall said it was good news for the local community.
“With this level of interest, we have the luxury of supporting only the best projects that benefit the community, maintain the highest and strictest development standards and maximise local renewable jobs and investment in the region,” he said.
The Energy Corporation of NSW (EnergyCo) will use the information to inform the next stage of REZ design and engage with local stakeholders through a Regional Reference Group, which held its second meeting this week.
Work is underway to run the first auctions for renewable energy projects across NSW in 2022.
The NSW Government’s Electricity Strategy and Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap set out plans to deliver the state’s first 5 Renewable Energy Zones (REZs) in the Central-West Orana, New England, South-West, Hunter-Central Coast and Illawarra regions.
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