The draft guidelines on orders prohibiting connection to network infrastructure in Renewable Energy Zones (REZs) provide guidance on the purpose and scope of a connection prohibition order made under section 29 of the Electricity Infrastructure Investment Act 2020 and the process EnergyCo will follow in determining whether to make an order.
EnergyCo is working closely with communities and industry to coordinate investment in renewable energy generation, storage and network infrastructure in REZs for the long-term benefit of energy consumers and regional communities in NSW. This includes establishing the right settings to encourage energy generation and storage projects in the REZs to undertake meaningful engagement with local communities and build local community support for their projects.
However, should it be necessary to maintain community support for a REZ, EnergyCo (as the appointed Infrastructure Planner) has the ability to make an order under section 29 of the Electricity Infrastructure Investment Act 2020 to prohibit the relevant network operator from allowing a Proponent to connect certain proposed generation and storage infrastructure to network infrastructure within REZs.
EnergyCo may only issue an order in limited circumstances, such as where it is satisfied that the opposition of the local community to the proposed infrastructure is significant, the order is in the public interest and the order is reasonably necessary to maintain community support in the local area for other infrastructure in a REZ. There are also some circumstances in which EnergyCo cannot make an order, such as where:
- The proponent has development consent under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 to construct and operate the proposed infrastructure.
- The proposed infrastructure has a capacity of less than 30 megawatts.
- The proposed infrastructure is connecting to network infrastructure that is not located in a specified area within a REZ.
The draft guidelines were informed by targeted consultation with key stakeholders and industry bodies and were recently open for public feedback in June 2022. EnergyCo is currently considering feedback received during this period.
If you have any questions about the draft guidelines, please send an email to [email protected].