In response to the Electricity Supply and Reliability Check Up, the New South Wales Government has released its strategy to keep the Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap on track.
The Electricity Supply and Reliability Check Up was conducted by Cameron O’Reilly from Marsden Jacob Associates, and makes 54 recommendations to keep the Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap on track.
The government has accepted 50 recommendations – 44 in full, three in part and three are already underway or complete – committing to a whole-of-government effort to deliver the energy transition for New South Wales households, businesses and communities.
The New South Wales Government will take action in three key areas:
- The Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap has been endorsed as a strategic priority of the government – there will be a whole-of-government effort to make sure that as coal-fired power retires, New South Wales households and businesses have enough renewable energy, transmission and storage to replace it as quickly as possible
- A new Energy Security Target Monitor will actively inspect the plans of New South Wales’ remaining private coal-fired power stations as they approach retirement to ensure ongoing reliability at the lowest cost
- The NSW Government will streamline renewables approvals in the planning system as well as enhance and coordinate community benefit sharing, unlocking opportunities to connect new renewables to the existing grid outside Renewable Energy Zones. A Consumer Energy Strategy will be developed to unleash the potential of households and businesses to further embrace small-scale renewables like solar in the short-term, without shifting focus and momentum from the delivery of large-scale projects.
The check up conducted by Marsden Jacob Associates found that there will be reliability challenges for the state in the coming years. The government will engage with Origin on its plans for Eraring, at the same time as pursuing all alternative solutions to deliver the renewable generation, transmission and storage solutions that New South Wales needs.
State Minister for Energy, Penny Sharpe, said “New South Wales has no time to waste as coal-fired power retires and needs to be replaced by renewable energy generation, transmission and storage.”
“The check up by Cameron O’Reilly and his team is a clear sighted assessment that has kicked the tires of energy policy in New South Wales.
“It provides the practical and achievable next steps to rescue the Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap, and let New South Wales get on with it,” Ms Sharpe said.
The whole-of-government approach will also address housing, transport, skills and workforce and supply constraints in the Renewable Energy Zones.
The Energy Corporation of NSW (EnergyCo) will continue as the lead agency to deliver the Renewable Energy Zones that will power New South Wales into the future. EnergyCo will be enhanced with a statement of priorities and a reformed governance framework.
Endeavour Energy has recognised the report findings, which state distribution is a key solution to the New South Wales energy transition while new transmissions are built.
Endeavour Energy’s CEO, Guy Chalkley, said the report sets out clear actions to deliver a smarter, cleaner, more affordable and efficient energy system by unlocking renewable energy resources that already exist across its massive electricity grid.
“We are at a critical point in the energy transition, with more customers working flexibly who depend on safe, reliable and affordable electricity to power their work and lifestyles.
“Our customers have told us they want us to act now for an accelerated transition. But that is least cost, not at any cost. They are already leading the energy transition with record investments in renewables technologies.
“One in four homes in our network now have rooftop solar. We expect this to grow to one in two by 2034 while battery storage is predicted to increase to one in three homes. And over the next 20 years, electric vehicle ownership is set to grow to 91 per cent,” Mr Chalkley said.
“At the same time, we are experiencing unprecedented growth in Greater Western Sydney – about 40 per cent higher than the rest of Sydney. Large businesses are flooding into the area as the opening of Western Sydney’s International Airport nears. Energy security and affordability is critical for them.
“There is enormous potential to unlock the aggregated power of customer energy resources already connected to our distribution network, utilised locally, to contribute to NSW’s energy security and supply.”
The Australian Energy Council, said the report to the New South Wales Government illustrates the extreme challenges being thrown up by the energy market transition and supports the recommendations that were made.
Australian Energy Council’s Chief Executive, Sarah McNamara, said, “This transition was always going to face significant hurdles given the sheer scale and speed of the grid renovation underway.
“The electricity sector has been working cooperatively towards the decarbonisation of the grid for many years. This report flags the importance of getting the phase out of old plants and phase in replacement generation right. Clearly there are consequences for reliability and affordability if that balance is not achieved.
“Our national electricity grid is a delicate and complex piece of infrastructure that touches every home and business across the eastern states.
“Its decarbonisation requires time and the flexibility to be able to address issues as they arise.
“We support the sensible recommendations announced today and agree that the government must continue to engage with plant operators to avoid the kinds of potential supply shortfalls flagged by recent market assessments. It is responsible to consider all options, including the ongoing role of gas-powered generation in our grid,” Ms McNamara said.
“We also agree with the NSW Government’s assessment that there is a critical need to improve the community’s awareness and understanding of the energy transition. This must be a cooperative effort between governments and market participants.”