Renewable energy zone

Solar, wind and battery projects in two New South Wales REZs will have the opportunity to connect to the energy grid under the access schemes.

The access schemes have been opened by the New South Wales Government, designed to give greater certainty to investors and energy projects and help coordinate and accelerate the delivery of renewable energy to power New South Wales. 

The government said access rights give confidence to investors and host communities by setting a limit on the amount of electricity generation and number of storage projects which can connect to network infrastructure in REZs.

In a first for New South Wales, applications for access rights have now opened for the Central-West Orana REZ near Dubbo. 

The Energy Corporation of New South Wales (EnergyCo) will allocate initial rights to get new renewable energy to households and businesses.

The New South Wales Government has also declared an access scheme for the South West REZ near Hay. Projects will be able to bid for access rights as part of a tender run by AEMO Services commencing in Q2 2024.

Solar, wind and battery projects which gain access rights will pay a fee, and a portion will go towards providing community and employment benefits in these two REZs.

To fast-track these benefits, the government has previously announced an initial $128 million in community benefits over four years for the Central-West Orana REZ, to ensure benefits flow before construction of new transmission and renewable generation projects commence. Community benefits for other zones, including South West, will be established soon.

New South Wales Minister for Climate Change and Energy, Penny Sharpe, said, “This is another important step in delivering the REZs that will power New South Wales into the future. It is the first-time access rights are being offered in New South Wales REZs, marking a significant milestone for the Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap.

“Access schemes for the Central-West Orana and South West REZs will ensure we make the best use of new transmission lines, to reduce bills for energy consumers, improve planning outcomes for host communities and deliver new local, secure jobs.

“Directing part of the access fee back into host communities will ensure residents and businesses see tangible benefits well into the future, in addition to low-cost power and a more diversified economy,” Ms Sharpe said.


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