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Renewable energy generation projects

Renewable energy generation projects

The Central-West Orana Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) will bring renewable energy generation projects (such as wind and solar) together with energy storage (such as batteries) and connect them to the electricity network. EnergyCo is working closely with the developers of major generation projects with planned connections to the REZ transmission project.

Project approval pathway

Generation and storage projects that wish to connect to the new Central-West Orana REZ network infrastructure, to which the Central-West Orana REZ Access Scheme applies, will need to seek an access right through the Consumer Trustee's competitive Tender process.

Developers of renewable energy projects are also required to seek other necessary approvals to allow for the construction and operation of their projects in accordance with relevant legislation. This includes submitting a development application to obtain development consent from the Minister for Planning or the Independent Planning Commission.

Development applications

Development of electricity generating projects, including wind and solar renewable energy projects, with a capital investment value of more than $30 million are classified as State significant development (SSD) under the State Environmental Planning Policy (Planning Systems) 2021. Generation projects that meet this criteria are required to submit Development Applications (DA) with the NSW Department of Planning and Environment (DPE).

DPE coordinates the assessment of applications under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979. This includes working with other Government agencies and councils, encouraging community participation, and preparing a detailed whole-of-government assessment report, including any recommended conditions of consent on the merits of SSD projects for the consent authority.

The DA process for all SSD projects, including generators, includes:

  • initial consultations with the Department
  • preparation of a Scoping Report by the generator to support an application for Secretary’s Environment Assessment Requirements (SEARs), which set the terms of reference for the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)
  • the preparation of an EIS and community consultation
  • public exhibition of the EIS to allow the community and other stakeholders to make submissions
  • preparation of a Submissions Report by the generator explaining how issues addressed in the submissions have been addressed
  • whole of government assessment coordinated by DPE
  • determination by the Minister for Planning or the Independent Planning Commission.

The SEARs set the Terms of Reference for the EIS and typically require consultation with the community, stakeholders and government agencies including addressing the requirements of DPE’s Undertaking Engagement Guidelines for State Significant Projects.

The EIS must address a range of impacts, depending on the location, nature and scape of the project. Typical issues assessed in an EIS for a generation project include land uses, visual, noise, biodiversity, heritage (including Aboriginal heritage), transport, water, hazards and electromagnetic interference, and social issues. The EIS must also identify measures to avoid, minimise and manage impacts in accordance with a range of comprehensive government policies and guidelines.

Access rights

Access schemes are a key part of the NSW Government’s plan to coordinate and encourage renewable energy and storage investment in REZs and realise the objectives of the NSW Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap.

Details on the Central-West Orana REZ Access Scheme Declaration are available here.

Access to REZ infrastructure is a valuable right that will be awarded to the best projects competing in the Consumer Trustee's Tender processes. Generation and storage projects that are successful in the tender process will be asked to enter into access right agreements before EnergyCo’s formal allocation of access rights.

Managing impacts to communities in the REZ

We’ve been engaging with local communities and key stakeholders since early 2022 to help inform the development of the Central-West Orana REZ. Community input will be critical to the successful delivery and coordination of the REZ and we are committed to ongoing, effective engagement throughout the planning process.

We appreciate there are areas of concern for the community in relation to the REZ transmission project and the REZ as a whole, including cumulative impacts on communities as a result of generation projects and new transmission infrastructure. As the Infrastructure Planner for the REZ, EnergyCo has an interest in ensuring that cumulative impacts in the REZ are properly assessed, managed and coordinated. We take these concerns seriously and are developing a number of strategies and initiatives to ensure the REZ provides positive outcomes for local communities.

We are liaising with developers of generation projects, local councils, government agencies and other key stakeholders on strategies to ensure potential cumulative impacts are managed and coordinated within the REZ. The key topics being investigated include workforce accommodation, training opportunities, roads and traffic management, telecommunication improvements, waste management, and a range of key community and health services.

Major generation projects with planned connections to the REZ transmission network

A major renewable energy generator is a developer with a proposed generation and storage project over 250 megawatts.

Based on a set of criteria, EnergyCo has identified 11 major renewable generation projects with planned connections to the REZ transmission network that we will work with closely as we deliver the REZ.

This approach enables EnergyCo and generators to collaborate on community benefits, manage cumulative impacts and leave a lasting positive legacy within the REZ. Although early engagement with the generators is required for development, this does not negate their planning and access approvals.

Access rights to the REZ transmission project will be run as a separate independent tender process by the Consumer Trustee. Projects will need to be successful in this process before connecting to the REZ network and any prior collaboration with EnergyCo does not guarantee development approval and access rights.

The 11 major renewable generation projects are listed below. You can also visit EnergyCo’s interactive map to view the locations of the major generation projects in the REZ.

ProjectDeveloperProject statusContact
Orana Wind FarmAcciona EnergiaPlanning

Email: [email protected]

Tel: 0460 773 411

Spicers Creek Wind FarmSquadron EnergyEnvironmental Assessment

Email: [email protected]

Tel: 02 4013 4640

Sandy Creek Solar FarmLightsource BPPreparing EIS

Email: [email protected]

Tel: 1300 873 575

Cobbora Solar FarmMarble EnergyPreparing EISEmail: [email protected]
Dapper Solar FarmOrigin EnergyPreliminary Design

Email: [email protected]

Tel: 1800 677 315

Barneys Reef Wind FarmRESEnvironmental Assessment

Email: [email protected]

Tel: 1800 118 737

Tallawang Solar FarmRESEnvironmental Assessment

Email: [email protected]

Tel: 1800 118 737

Liverpool Range Wind FarmTilt RenewablesApproved

Email: [email protected]

Tel: 1800 938 458

Birriwa BESS / Birriwa SolarACEN AustraliaEnvironmental Assessment

Email: [email protected]

Tel: 1800 290 995

Stubbo SolarACEN AustraliaStage 1 approved - Detailed design underway

Email: [email protected]

Tel: 1800 434 062

Valley of the WindsACEN AustraliaResponse to submission stage

Email: [email protected]

Tel: 1800 512 339