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Hunter-Central Coast Renewable Energy Zone

Hunter-Central Coast Renewable Energy Zone


Introduction

EnergyCo is in the early stages of planning a Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) in the Hunter and Central Coast regions on the lands of the Awabakal, Bahtabah, Biraban, Darkinjung, Mindaribba, Wanaruah and Worimi people.

Why the region was chosen

The Hunter and Central Coast regions have unique features which make them ideal locations for a REZ. These regions have good renewable energy resources and can utilise existing power stations, rehabilitated mining land, electricity network infrastructure, port and transport infrastructure and a skilled workforce.

The Hunter-Central Coast REZ will ensure these regions have a key role in a renewable energy future, powering existing industries and supporting economic growth, including emerging technology in green hydrogen, ammonia and metal production, electric vehicle fleet operators and electrification of industrial processes.

Consultation with the community

EnergyCo will engage extensively with local community and regional stakeholders on the design, location and delivery of the Hunter-Central Coast REZ. 

Planning, designing and building new electricity network infrastructure in the Hunter and Central Coast regions requires a detailed understanding of the regions’ future large energy users and renewable energy projects. By increasing manufacturing, agriculture and export opportunities, this REZ will also provide significant opportunities and benefits to the Hunter-Central Coast region.

Registration of Interest (ROI)

Between December 2021 and February 2022, EnergyCo ran a Registration of Interest (ROI) process for the Hunter-Central Coast REZ. This was the first step in engaging with industry on the design of the REZ and attracted a significant response with commercial interest in renewable generation and storage projects representing almost 40 gigawatts and more than $100 billion of potential investment.

In summary, these commercial parties registered interest in:

  • 24 solar energy projects,
  • 13 onshore and seven offshore wind energy projects,
  • 35 large-scale batteries, and
  • eight pumped hydro projects.

In addition to this investment in clean energy generation and storage, the Hunter-Central Coast REZ will also underpin the growth of new low carbon industries such as green hydrogen, ammonia and metals production which could service both domestic and export markets as the world decarbonises and shifts towards increased green manufacturing.

Next steps

Like all REZs, planning, designing and building the Hunter-Central Coast REZ will be complex, taking some years to design and build. EnergyCo will be engaging closely with the local community, industry, local government and other stakeholders as the design and delivery of the REZ progresses.