Within 15 years, four of NSW’s five coal power stations are expected to reach the end of their operational lifespan, representing a loss of three quarters of NSW electricity supply.
The NSW Government has introduced a Bill (Electricity Infrastructure Investment Bill 2020) which aims to further develop the state’s renewable energy infrastructure and give effect to the NSW Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap. Will this bill help the transition to an affordable, reliable, and clean energy future for NSW?
The Bill aims to encourage investment from developers, minimising uncertainty regarding the availability and costs of suitable transmission grid connection and capacity. A Minister for Energy and Environment will be granted the power to provide financial and technical certainty with the allocation of Renewable Energy Zones (REZs). First announced in 2018, REZs involve the coordinated development of new transmission grid infrastructure, connecting facilities such as solar and wind farms in energy-rich areas, while capitalising on economies of scale.
The Bill also provides a pathway for the private sector and landowners to seek a renewable energy zone declaration from the Minister for Energy and Environment, the objective being to allow the delivery of non-government-led renewable energy zones. The NSW Government will work with any community in the State that wants to host a REZ and unlock the Roadmap’s economic benefits.