New South Wales receives 17GW of proposals for latest renewable energy zone

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New South Wales has received applications for projects in five REZs so far. Image Nextracker.

The Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) has received applications for 17GW of renewables generation and storage projects for its planned Illawarra Renewable Energy Zone (REZ).

The response for the registration of interest (ROI) held in June and July 2022 for the latest REZ has been “tremendous”, with strong interest in offshore wind, energy storage and green hydrogen, according to the state’s minister for energy, Matt Kean.

Interest in 44 projects equating to AU$43 billion (US$29.6 billion) in potential investment has been registered in five solar PV farms, 16 energy storage projects, four pumped hydro projects and ten wind farms, according to a statement by the NSW government.

Four hydrogen production and two hydrogen electricity generation projects have also been registered, as well as three new load projects, including green steel manufacturing.

“This highlights the variety of large-scale energy projects being developed in the region, that will ensure the Illawarra plays a role as the powerhouse of the renewable energy economy,” said Kean.

Previous REZs in NSW have had higher applications of renewable generation, with 40GW for the Hunter-Central Coast earlier this year, 34GW for the South West region in February 2022, 34GW for the New England region last year and 27GW for the Central-West Orana in June 2020.

In total there are plans for five NSW REZs, with the Illawarra being the last one receiving applications for renewable generation and energy storage that will help replace coal-fired power stations that are set to retire over the next ten to 15 years.

In order to accelerate the connection of planned REZs, the state announced in June 2022 an AU$1.2 billion investment in new transmission lines and infrastructure in the next decade.

The Energy Corporation of NSW (EnergyCo), a statutory authority controlled by the state government, will be using the information from this ROI to inform the timing, design and location of the Illawarra REZ.

It is expected that the Illawarra REZ will be formally declared under the NSW Government’s Electricity Roadmap legislation by the end of 2022.

A feature article exploring REZs in Australia and their use in attracting solar investment into the country was included within volume 28 of PV Tech Power and can be read in full here.

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