POWER TO THE PEOPLE – MP CALLS FOR CLOSER RENEWABLE ENERGY SCRUTINY

Friday, 13 October 2023

MEMBER for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall took to the floor of State Parliament last night to speak about the importance of ensuring local communities maintain a level of control over the influx of renewable energy projects flooding into the region.

Mr Marshall noted that since the New England Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) was formally established in 2020, along with four others across the state, the rush had been on by developers keen to push their projects.

However, not all projects are equal or welcomed by communities into which these renewable energy projects, be it wind, solar or hydro, plan to be constructed and the local MP is calling on the state government to take a more proactive role in what is welcomed and what is not.

“I was then, as I am now, a big proponent for the renewable energy zone and I advocated strongly for it because in my view it was about bringing order to chaos,” Mr Marshall said.

“In 2020 the parliament passed legislation to create renewable energy zones across the state and it was a watershed moment for the transition from one phase of energy generation to a more diverse generation of electricity with technologies, moving to a renewable energy future.

“The key to that legislation, as I saw it, and the reason I was so supportive and believed it was about bringing order to chaos, was section 29 of the Electricity Infrastructure Investment Act 2020.

“Section 29 gives the NSW Energy Corporation the ability to make an order to deny proponents access to the transmission infrastructure before they have even entered the planning system.”

Mr Marshall said communities have been left to make sense of the chaos that comes when proponents walk into a community and pitch their development, whether suitable or not.

This has created a lot of distress and distrust and Mr Marshall is calling on Energy Corporation of NSW (EnergyCo) to step up and exercise its powers under section 29 and start making decisions about what is in and what is out.

“Like John West, we will be judged by the quality of what we reject because there is no shortage of proponents that want to develop in New England,” Mr Marshall said.

“The issue is making sure that they develop in the right location, in accordance with community standards and we already know that needle can be threaded if proponents are willing to work with communities.

“Now is the time for EnergyCo to exercise its powers under section 29 and start giving the boot to some of those proponents that are not willing to play ball with local councils and communities and develop projects that are sympathetic to the vision we have for our region.

“Our area is large and there is no need for a proponent to trespass on areas where the community does not support it, because there are plenty of areas where the community will support it.

“I can nominate one such project that EnergyCo could start with: Squadron Energy’s Boorolong wind farm project, which is completely inappropriate and will impact 200-odd households.

“That is the first company I would put forward to be punted under section 29.

“We welcome good quality projects, but we are not a welcome mat to be walked over by anyone.

“We want good projects and we want to be of part the renewable energy system, but we do not want rubbish, we do not want cowboys, we do not want Boorolong and we certainly do not want Squadron Energy.”

Recent Articles

PORT OF NEWCASTLE UNSHACKLED WITH $13 MILLION IPART DETERMINATION

05th April 2024

Friday, 5 April 2024 NORTHERN Tablelands MP Adam Marshall has today welcomed a decision by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory... Read More

NEW $8.5 MILLION GLEN INNES AMBULANCE STATION OPENED

05th April 2024

Photo caption: Officially opening the new $8.5 million Glen Innes Ambulance Station today, local paramedics Cass Copeland, left, Station... Read More

MARSHALL TO CALL TIME ON TWO DECADES OF POLITICS NEXT MONTH

04th April 2024

Thursday, 4 April 2024 MEMBER for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall will draw his 20-year career in public office to a... Read More