Thanks to an overwhelming amount of investor interest, NSW is set to get a 3 GW renewable energy zone in the Central-West area. Receiving more than $38 billion in proposals from interested parties, the government has put forward funding to help the development of the zone. This funding comes as a quadrupled figure, now that ARENA has also dedicated investment towards the TransGrid ‘scoping study’, which will assess and present a business case on the sustainability of the Central-West Orana REZ. This will also give direction around a national approach for the future.
What will the new Orana REZ bring?
Prospective developers have been interested in the 3 GW zone for a while now. In total more than 113 registrations were received from interested parties, summing up 27 GW worth of developments sitting at $38 billion in value. This demonstrates a boom in job opportunities for regional NSW – a much-needed benefit for the state.
There is also now a big pipeline of large-scale renewable energy and storage project for the zone positioned around Dubbo, which comes in the lead-up to phasing out ageing thermal-generation technology. In order to support the Central-West Orana zone, the state government has offered a funding package that is four times the amount originally scoped out.
Recently, Energy Minister Matt Kean said the state government put forward a further $31.6 million to the Orana REZ, creating a total of $40 billion in funding.
“With this funding locked in, we can bring the Central-West Orana REZ from a vision to a reality,” he said. “The Central-West Orana REZ, the first of the State’s three Renewable Energy Zones, will be the modern-day equivalent of a traditional power station, capable of powering 1.3 million homes.”
This pilot will also bring more than 3,000 MW of wind and solar generation, of which the NSW government describes as “the cheapest type of new reliable generation.” Meanwhile, more than $4.4 billion is expected to come from investment, alongside 450 job opportunities in construction, and the push to decrease electricity prices.
The area was chosen to act as a pilot destination because of its previously approved and planned projects, and the ability to offer a cheaper alternative in building costs. It also features a good balance of both wind and solar resources, creating a healthy stream of renewables support. All of this comes as part of the state government’s long-term approach to deliver three REZs across the state in total.