If elected on 23 March, the NSW Labor Party has vowed to deliver 7GW of renewable energy within a decade.

NSW Labor has committed to use reverse auctions to build 6GW of renewable energy with storage, and establish a new state-owned corporation to deliver a further 1GW of renewables and storage.

4GW of renewables will be commissioned in its first four 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
  • 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 $2200 rebate.

Industry response

Smart Energy Council CEO, John Grimes, said, “This is an absolute game-changer, the biggest renewable energy policy ever announced in Australia. If this policy is implemented, NSW will go from laggard to leader.

“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.”

According to Energy Networks Australia CEO, Andrew Dillon, the renewable energy promises emerging from the NSW election campaign are commendable, but the lack of consideration of the impact on the electricity grid is a concern.

Mr 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,” Mr Dillon said.

“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.

Charlotte Pordage is Editor of Utility magazine, a position she has held since November 2018. She joined the team as an Associate Editor in October 2017, after sharpening her writing and editing skills across a range of print and digital publications. Charlotte graduated from Royal Holloway, University of London, in 2011 with joint honours in English and Latin. When she's not putting together Australia's only dedicated utility magazine, she can usually be found riding her horse or curled up with a good book.

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