At Last, Something to Excite Greenies

Filed under Energy, Government, News ~ by Press on  14 Jul 2020

The NSW government has announced NSW’s second renewable energy zone (REZ) that could triple the 3000MW of the first Central West zone.

Deputy Premier John Barilaro said the government was “forging ahead” with plans to deliver new energy infrastructure that will “make regional NSW the home of renewable energy investment.”

The New England REZ is expected to attract $12.7 billion in investment, support 2000 construction jobs and 1300 ongoing jobs – all while lowering energy prices and future-proofing the regions,” Mr Barilaro said.

Regional NSW is the best place in Australia for renewable energy investment and the jobs it creates, and this funding allows us to unlock that potential.”

Energy Minister Matt Kean said the massive 8000 MW New England REZ was the biggest commitment to cheap, clean energy in the state’s history.

Mr Kean announced $79 million for the New England Energy Zone, which comes after the first Renewable Energy Zone attracted $38 billion in investor interest – over nine times what the government had expected.

The nine-fold level of interest in the Central-West Orana REZ was astounding, so it makes absolute sense to go even bigger with the New England REZ,” Mr Kean said. 

The New England REZ will be able to power 3.5 million homes and, when coupled with Central-West Orana REZ, sets the state up to become the number one destination across Australia for renewable energy investment.”

Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall said the REZ represented an excellent opportunity for the region to create jobs, diversify its local economy and improve local roads and telecommunications infrastructure.

Our region is fast becoming the renewables capital of NSW and we’re home to some of the best renewable energy resources in the country, with flagship wind and solar projects at Glen Innes and Armidale living proof of this potential,” Mr Marshall said.

Today’s official declaration of New England as an 8000 MW REZ is a long-awaited milestone for the future of the region and I am determined to see community-wide benefits flow from this announcement.”

The New England REZ is the second Renewable Energy Zone planned for NSW and will be built in stages, with the delivery timetable to be developed throughout the detailed planning process.

This huge response reflects the on-going strong position of the renewable energy industry to attract investment off the back of good policy.

The result will be new jobs, more investment flowing into the economy and helping NSW tackle climate change. It is a win-win,” said Climate Council CEO Amanda Mckenzie.

Once completed, the Central West zone alone is expected to bring 450 construction jobs to the region and generate enough electricity to power 1.3 million homes.

The states and territories are leading the charge in tackling climate change and showing that they are serious about protecting Australians from worsening extreme weather,” said Ms McKenzie.

There is a major opportunity right now for the NSW government to invest in a clean-jobs recovery, driving further private investment, creating jobs, and helping to protect communities in NSW, especially across the regions,” she said.

Economic recovery spending should set us up for the future by tackling longer-term challenges like climate change,” said Ms McKenzie.

NSW has just come through its worst bushfire season on record, which destroyed 2,439 homes, burned through over 80% of the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area and tragically claimed 242 lives, both from the fires and the smoke. It underlines why economic recovery priorities must also involve tackling climate change,” she said.

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