On top of the renewables world – Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall atop the largest windfarm in NSW last year, the Sapphire Windfarm, between Glen Innes and Inverell.
Thursday, 28 January 2021
THE State Government will shortly kick-start Australia’s largest renewables zone by asking energy generation and storage project proponents to register their interest in being part of the New England Renewable Energy Zone, Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall announced today.
Mr Marshall said expressions of interest would be called by the end of March this year – the first step of the long planning process for the 8,000 megawatt zone.
“The registration of interest process will help the government understand the scale, location and types of projects considering joining the New England Renewable Energy Zone,” Mr Marshall said.
“The information provided will support technical design, planning and further market engagement on the Zone.
“Establishing this renewables zone is a monumental undertaking and will take several years to plan, design and build and will be delivered in stages.
“The full development of our region through the zone is expected to be worth around $12.7 billion in private sector investment, 2,000 construction jobs and 1,300 ongoing jobs.”
To assist in getting the planning right and ensure the needs of the local communities and landholders are balanced with the desires of industry, Mr Marshall said the government would also establish a regional reference group to guide close engagement with the local community, landowners and other interested stakeholders on the development of the Renewable Energy Zone.
“This will ensure the design and delivery of the Renewable Energy Zone reflects the unique features of our region and maximises benefits for our communities without sacrificing or comprising the assets that make our area so special, such as highly productive agricultural land,” he said.
Last year Mr Marshall and Energy Minister Matt Kean announced an $80 million State Government investment to establish zone.
Already, large scale wind and solar projects in the Northern Tablelands are generating enough electricity to power 254,318 NSW homes.
“With approved projects like the New England Solar Farm at Uralla and Metz Solar Farm at Armidale expected to start construction in the next two years that output is set to explode to well over half a million regular homes,” Mr Marshall said.
“It’s eye watering to think the New England REZ could power a further 3.5 million homes.
“I’ve long spoken about renewable energy being the ‘wind-of-change’ for this region and today we can proudly say the hard work put in by the sector’s pioneers has lit the way for a new bright future for our region and beyond.”
Mr Marshall said the REZ represented a golden opportunity to diversify economies and provide better infrastructure.
“For the first time in our region’s history, we are on the cusp of being a net exporter of energy building wealth in our communities,” he said.
“Through progressive new policy frameworks and the National Energy Guarantee (NEG), we are balancing the needs of community while government action is driving new investment in new power generation to deliver least cost energy to customers.
“The benefits of the New England REZ blow way beyond the renewable energy sector, offering the opportunity for mass investment in things like public roads, telecommunications infrastructure and health services.
“Quality infrastructure is not only vital for the efficient delivery of electricity to the network but will also play a role in encouraging people to relocate to our area to work on these ground-breaking projects.
“Of course, the overriding principle of the zone is that our communities get to be in the driver’s seat for the very first time, helping determine what projects are allowed to come to our region and where they ca and cannot be constructed.”