Saturday, July 13, 2024

NSW Premier fires up new renewables strategy

The NSW Government today released what it says is a strategy to secure the reliable supply of clean and affordable renewable energy for the State.

The Government’s response to the Electricity Supply and Reliability Check Up conducted by Cameron O’Reilly from Marsden Jacob Associates commits to a whole-of-government effort to deliver the energy transition for NSW households, businesses and communities.

The check-up makes 54 recommendations to keep the Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap on track. The government has accepted 50 recommendations; 44 in full, 3 in part and 3 are already underway or complete.

The NSW Government says it will take action in three key areas.

Firstly, the Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap has been endorsed as a strategic priority of the government. This means there will be a whole-of-government effort to make sure that as coal-fired power retires, NSW households and businesses have enough renewable energy, transmission and storage to replace it as quickly as possible, said Premier, Chris Minns.

Secondly, a new Energy Security Target Monitor will actively scrutinise the plans of NSW’s remaining private coal-fired power stations as they approach retirement to ensure ongoing reliability at the lowest cost.

The check-up found there will be reliability challenges for NSW in the next couple of years.

The Government today pledged to engage with Origin on its plans for Eraring, while also pursuing all alternative solutions to deliver the renewable generation, transmission and storage solutions that NSW needs.

Finally, the NSW Government committed to streamlining renewables approvals in the planning system as well as enhancing and coordinating community benefit sharing.

It will unlock opportunities to connect new renewables to the existing grid outside Renewable Energy Zones, the Premier said.

“One of the biggest challenges facing NSW is ensuring we can keep the lights on while managing the biggest change in energy mix and consumption in the shortest period of time in our nation’s history,” said Mr Minns.

“This challenge is made worse by privatisation, cost overruns and delays under the previous government.

“NSW is committed to meeting its net zero ambition and transforming our electricity system to renewables as soon as possible.

“This report and the government’s response rescues the renewables mission and puts the transition back on track.”

He said a Consumer Energy Strategy will be developed to unleash the potential of households and businesses to further embrace small-scale renewables like solar in the short-term, without shifting focus and momentum from the delivery of large-scale projects.

The whole-of-government approach also promises to address housing, transport, skills and workforce and supply constraints in the Renewable Energy Zones.

“NSW has no time to waste as coal-fired power retires and needs to be replaced by renewable energy generation, transmission and storage,” said Minister for Energy, Penny Sharpe.

“The check up by Cameron O’Reilly and his team is a clear-sighted assessment that has kicked the tires of energy policy in NSW.

“It provides the practical and achievable next steps to rescue the Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap, and let NSW get on with it.

“I want to thank Cameron O’Reilly and his team for their work on the check up and those who have provided their insights to both Cameron and the NSW Government as we have been finalising our response,” she said.

The Energy Corporation of NSW (EnergyCo) will continue as the lead agency to deliver the Renewable Energy Zones that will power NSW into the future. EnergyCo will be enhanced with a statement of priorities and a reformed governance framework.

Read the Electricity Supply and Reliability Check-Up here.

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