The NSW state government has outlined an ambitious but realistic blueprint to nominate New England as a proposed site for a Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) that will harness a phenomenal 8GW of wind, solar and storage projects. The site will take in areas around Armidale on the lands of the Biripi, Dainggatti, Nganyaywana, Ngarabal, and Gumbainggir people.
The New England REZ is one of at least five drawn up by NSW as part of its plans to replace its dependency on coal fired energy generation by 2030. NSW currently has the biggest dependence on coal generation in the country, more than 10GW, but most are scheduled to close within the decade.
The New England REZ, along with the other four chosen sites, will benefit from exposure to a significant pipeline of large-scale renewable energy and storage projects. Collectively the initiative will support up to $20.7 billion of private sector investment in their respective regions and at their peak, over 5000 construction jobs.
What is a Renewable Energy Zone (REZs)?
REZs are modern-day power stations that combine renewable energy generation such as wind and solar. They work on connecting multiple generators and storage in the same location, thereby capitalising on economies of scale to deliver cheap, reliable and clean electricity to homes, businesses and industries in NSW.
Why is this good news for residents of New England?
In term of monetary benefits, the New England REZ on its own is expected to deliver around $10.7 billion in investment and around 830 operational jobs, as well as 1,250 construction jobs each year.
The NSW Government’s Emerging Energy Program has begun by awarding pre-investment funding to several pumped-hydro projects in the New England region. This includes areas flagged as critical to state infrastructure such as the Oven Mountain Pumped Hydro project.
The region is also conveniently, and strategically close to existing high voltage power lines connecting NSW’s east coast with Queensland. This proximity will provide opportunities to increase NSW’s own energy resilience, allowing the state to export excess energy to Queensland. The NSW Government is a significant stakeholder, having committed $78.9 million to support the initial development of the New England REZ.
The New England REZ, once fully operational, will be able to supply a more reliable source of energy in significantly higher amounts. This translates to savings in your energy bills as a result of reduced wholesale electricity costs.
A cleaner energy sector means a reduction in emissions. As a New England resident you will be party to a scheme that directly impacts positively on the environment. The New England REZ will facilitate and encourage cooperation within your community while partnering with other communities to foster strategic planning and best practice engagement and benefit sharing. New England Waste welcomes the opportunity to keep itself well-informed and be updated on any and all developments on projects with outcomes beneficial to the environment in the community it operates in and is a part of.
Has the New England REZ attracted much interest?
The NSW Government can boast that it has already received than 80 registrations of interest from potential renewable energy projects for the (REZ). Expressions of interest for the New England REZ represent 34GW of energy, more than four times what’s needed to build the $79 million 8GW zone. This is good news and welcome step for the many project proponents that are already active in the area as well as landholders entering into contracts for sale of land, leases and options for sales and leases with them.
The Energy Corporation of NSW (Energy Corporation), a Government-controlled statutory authority, will lead the delivery of NSW REZs. They have a brief to coordinate REZ transmission, generation and storage projects to deliver investment that is efficient, timely and coordinated. The Energy Corporation works within a realisation and framework that planning and consultation are interconnected and will coordinate and cooperate with stakeholder communities in ensuring the benefits of investment are shared equally within all host regions. In being mindful of these holistic objectives, they have established the New England REZ Regional Reference Group to ensure that deliverer of meaningful, long-term benefits to local communities. The Group will also bring together key regional stakeholders that represent local councils, Aboriginal Land Councils and regional state government agencies in a cooperative arrangement to recognise the equal importance of all stake holders communities.
Want to Know More?
The NSW Government welcomes input from communities, industry and other interested parties to help design and implement the NSW REZs. Visit their website to find out more about REZs at energy.nsw.gov.au/renewable-energy-zones You can send them an email if you would like to join their mailing list and stay informed at REZ@planning.nsw.gov.au. You can also read the NSW Farmers Renewable Energy Landholder Guide for further information about hosting renewable energy projects HERE
About New England Waste
New England Waste services the Armidale, Uralla, Glen Innes, Tenterfield, Guyra and areas and in between with an extensive range of skip bins, hook bins, septic services and port-a-loos. Family own and operated since 1979 by the Lancaster family, great service, expert solutions and great value are at the heart of New England Waste. See our range here:
Want more information? Contact us here