The NSW Government is investing $1.2 billion in a Transmission Acceleration Facility (Facility) which is set to fast-track Renewable Energy Zones (REZs).

The importance of the Facility comes from the need to replace existing power stations as they close, such as the Eraring Power Station.

“Renewable Energy Zones are modern day power stations, providing cheap and clean power for the homes and businesses of New South Wales,” New South Wales Treasurer and Minister for Energy, Matt Kean, said.

“This is the state’s largest ever investment in infrastructure for renewable energy and is expected to help create 2,700 direct construction jobs across the state.

“We estimate the Facility will drive at least $14 billion in private transmission infrastructure investment with all government contributions to be fully recovered.”

The first investment under the Facility will be the Waratah Super Battery, the largest standby network battery in the Southern Hemisphere.

There are over 50 large-scale renewable energy projects totalling around 16,000 mW currently progressing through the New South Wales planning system, however many of these projects may never proceed without additional capacity across the State’s transmission network.

“The Facility is a critical step in unlocking the new generation needed to improve competition, lower power prices and secure a brighter future for households and business,” Mr Kean said.

Clean Energy Council, who worked with the State Government and relevant agencies to expedite the reform, said the investment was “another example of the fantastic work being done in New South Wales to advance Australia’s clean energy future”.

The Clean Energy Council’s Director of External Affairs, Arron Wood, said the new renewable energy would help keep lights on and reduce emissions.

“As coal power stations come offline, it is investments like the Transmission Acceleration Facility that will help us plug into the renewable energy projects that will lower power prices, create jobs,” Mr Wood said.

“At a time when energy prices are at near-record highs, they will also help to alleviate the factors that have caused the current energy crisis and to avoid them reoccurring in the future.”

The Facility will be delivered by the Government’s Energy Corporation of New South Wales and will fund development activities for new transmission projects to deliver the Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap.

The development funding is expected to be recovered and recycled into new projects.

“Energy prices are up because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and unplanned outages at coal-fired power stations. Fast-tracking the construction of renewable energy is the best way to reduce our exposure to these risks and take advantage of cleaner, cheaper power sources,” Mr Kean said.

Mr Wood said correct transmission is ‘crucial’ in providing developers with the certainty they need to begin making the considerable investments in renewable energy and storage required to decarbonise our electricity system.

“Government backing of transmission will give renewable energy developers the confidence they need to get on with the job of building Australia’s clean energy future.”

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