EnergyCo is in the early stages of planning a REZ in the South West region of NSW around Hay on the lands of the Wiradjuri, Yorta Yorta, Baraba Baraba, Wemba Wemba, Wadi Wadi, Madi Madi, Nari Nari, Dadi Dadi, Kureinji and Yitha Yitha people.
- The South West REZ is expected to receive up to $2.8 billion in private investment by 2030.
- At its peak, this REZ is expected to support over 2,000 construction jobs in the region.
Why the region was chosen
The indicative location of the South West REZ was chosen following a detailed statewide geospatial mapping exercise undertaken by the NSW Government in 2018. This initial analysis sought to identify optimal locations to host renewable energy generation around the State, including areas with strong renewable energy resource potential, proximity to the existing electricity network, and consideration of potential interactions with existing land uses, including agricultural lands and biodiversity conservation.
Since then, EnergyCo has worked through a process to refine the geographical area of the REZ. Read more about the methodology for refining the geographical area here.
The South West REZ was chosen due to an abundance of high-quality wind and solar resources, proximity to existing and planned high voltage transmission including Project EnergyConnect, relative land-use compatibility and a strong pipeline of proposed projects.
Consultation with the community
To ensure that the REZ delivers meaningful, long-term benefits to local communities, EnergyCo established the South West REZ Regional Reference Group. The Group brings together a range of regional stakeholders, including representatives of local councils, Aboriginal Land Councils and regional NSW government agencies.
Developing the South West REZ will be complex, and will take some years to design and build. The NSW Government will closely engage with stakeholders on the delivery of the REZ.
View consultation updates on the South West REZ here.
Registration of Interest
In October 2021, the NSW Government received 49 registrations of interest, representing 34 gigawatts (more than 13 times the intended 2.5 gigawatts capacity) from potential generation and storage projects. The number of responses to the ROI reflects the strong level of interest in the REZ and helps ensure only the most competitive projects will be chosen through the Consumer Trustees competitive tender processes.
Information received through the ROI will be considered alongside ongoing consultation with local stakeholders and will help to inform the development of the South West REZ.
The South West REZ was formally declared by the Minister for Energy under section 19(1) of the Electricity Infrastructure Investment Act 2020 (the Act) and published in the NSW Gazette on Friday 4 November 2022 . View the Renewable Energy Zone (South West) Declaration Order here.
The REZ declaration is the first step in formalising the REZ under the Act. It sets out the intended network capacity (size), geographical area (location) and infrastructure that will make up the REZ. This enables and sets the scope of key legislative functions under the Act, including access schemes and REZ network solutions.
As Infrastructure Planner, EnergyCo will make decisions such as assessing and recommending REZ network infrastructure projects and, if needed to maintain community support for the REZ, preventing generation or storage projects from connecting in a specified area within the REZ (if those projects have not received development consent).
The declaration follows an assessment of feedback received during the draft declaration exhibition held between 25 March and 22 April 2022. All consultation feedback was addressed and resulted in some minor changes being made to the specified network infrastructure in the (final) declaration order.
A stylised map of the specified geographical area of the REZ is included above for reference and accessibility purposes only. This stylised map does not form part of the declaration. It includes the existing 132 kV, 220 kV and 330 kV transmission infrastructure near and in the REZ as a geographical reference. You can download the GIS file of the South West REZ geographical area boundary here.
In the future, the Minister may amend the declaration to expand the specified geographical area of the REZ, increase the intended network capacity, specify additional generation, storage and network infrastructure, provide further details and specifications or correct a minor error.
Intended network capacity
Once the eastern section of Project EnergyConnect has been upgraded to 500kV operation, it is anticipated that Project EnergyConnect and HumeLink will unlock around 2.5 gigawatts of transmission capacity in total to support the South West REZ.
We have consulted with network planners, including the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), Transgrid and Essential Energy to specify the network infrastructure that makes up the REZ. In summary, this is:
- planned, new and existing network infrastructure in the specified geographical area of the REZ, except the existing 66 kV transmission line connecting Red Cliffs and Robinvale substations (both in Victoria) which traverses into NSW within the REZ geographical area
- planned and new network infrastructure (220 kV, 330 kV or 500 kV) extending outside the specified geographical area operating directly connecting the Dinawan substation to any other substation or switching station outside of the specified geographical area
- existing infrastructure (220 kV) extending outside the specified geographical area connecting Darlington Point (330 kV) substation and Balranald (220 kV) substation.
Further specified network, generation and storage infrastructure may be added to the declaration later – for example, following further technical design and competitive processes for the REZ Access Scheme and Long-Term Energy Service Agreements.
Developing the South West REZ will require careful consideration and planning and take some years to design and build. EnergyCo will engage closely with stakeholders on the delivery of the REZ.