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Access rights in two Renewable Energy Zones give certainty to investors and communities

24 Apr 2024

Released by: Minister for Energy and Climate Change

Solar, wind and battery projects in two NSW Renewable Energy Zones will be given new opportunities to connect to the energy grid, under access schemes being opened by the NSW Government.

Access rights give greater certainty to investors and energy projects and will help coordinate and accelerate the delivery of the renewable energy needed to power NSW. They give confidence to investors and host communities by setting a limit on the amount of electricity generation and number of storage projects which can connect to network infrastructure in Renewable Energy Zones.

In a first for NSW, applications for access rights have now opened for the Central-West Orana Renewable Energy Zone near Dubbo. The Energy Corporation of NSW (EnergyCo) will allocate initial rights, to get new renewable energy to households and businesses faster.

The NSW Government has also declared an access scheme for the South West Renewable Energy Zone near Hay. Projects will be able to bid for access rights as part of a tender run by AEMO Services commencing in Q2 2024.

Solar, wind and battery projects which gain access rights will pay a fee, and a portion will go towards providing community and employment benefits in these two Renewable Energy Zones.

To fast-track these benefits, the Government has previously announced an initial $128 million in community benefits over four years for the Central-West Orana Renewable Energy Zone, to ensure benefits flow before construction of new transmission and renewable generation projects commence. Community benefits for other zones, including South West, will be established soon.

Attributable to Minister for Climate Change and Energy Penny Sharpe:

“This is another important step in delivering the Renewable Energy Zones that will power NSW into the future. It’s the first-time access rights are being offered in NSW Renewable Energy Zones, marking a significant milestone for the Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap.

“Access schemes for the Central-West Orana and South West Renewable Energy Zones will ensure we make the best use of new transmission lines, to reduce bills for energy consumers, improve planning outcomes for host communities and deliver new local, secure jobs.

“Directing part of the access fee back into host communities will ensure residents and businesses see tangible benefits well into the future, in addition to low-cost power and a more diversified economy.”

Read the media release.