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New South Wales Plans to Allocate an Additional $1.8 Billion to Clean Energy Projects

The New South Wales (NSW) government will further invest $1.8 billion (US$1,148 billion) to boost the state’s transition to clean energy in a bid to achieve 12 gigawatts of new renewable energy generation and two gigawatts of long-duration storage by 2030.

The NSW government said that it will allocate $1 billion from Restart NSW for the establishment of the Energy Security Corporation (ESC), which would be designated to invest in storage projects, address gaps in the current market, and improve electricity network reliability.

ESC’s scope will include investing in community batteries and virtual power plants to enable households and communities to pool rooftop solar-generated electricity, which would help them reduce their reliance on the grid and lower their power bills. Once established, ESC will venture into commercial projects similar to how the Clean Energy Finance Corporation operates.

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“We’re not just investing in large, grid-scale projects. We want to give households and communities more power to make choices about how they generate and use energy,” Minister for Energy Penny Sharpe said.

“That’s why the Energy Security Corporation will invest in projects like community batteries to help more households use their rooftop solar to become self-sufficient.”

An $800 million will be earmarked for the Transmission Acceleration Facility to accelerate the linking of NSW’s Renewable Energy Zones (REZ) to the grid. The funding will support early works in the Central-West Orana Renewable Energy Zone around Dubbo. The renewable zone, which is the first in NSW, is expected to bring private investments in the region to up to $10 billion by 2030.

In addition, the funding will help sustain ongoing works at other planned REZs, the Hunter Transmission Project and the Waratah Super Battery.

“We inherited a renewable energy roadmap that was off course,” Premier Chris Minns said. “We need to get back on track so that we can produce cleaner, more affordable energy for the people of this state.”

Climate Council Applauds Decision

The Climate Council, which earlier called on Mr. Minns to accelerate NSW’s transition to clean energy, lauded the additional investments. The climate lobby group said that such initiatives are what NSW needs, especially as Eraring, Australia’s largest coal-fired power station, is slated to close in 2025.

“This announcement is the next big step forward in what should be a strong push to electrify households and ensure all NSW residents benefit from cheap and abundant renewable energy,” Jennifer Rayner, Climate Council’s Head of Advocacy, said.

“If the NSW government goes all-in on these initiatives, then it can power past the challenge of phasing out coal from our energy system and close our biggest coal-fired power station, Eraring, by 2025 as planned.”

On Sept. 5, the NSW government revealed that it will engage with Origin, the operator of Eraring, on a potential extension of the coal plant, as recommended on the Electricity Supply and Reliability Check Up (pdf) by Cameron O’Reilly from Marsden Jacob Associates.

“The check-up finds there will be reliability challenges for NSW in the next couple of years. The government will engage with Origin on its plans for Eraring, at the same time as pursuing all alternative solutions to deliver the renewable generation, transmission and storage solutions that NSW needs,” the state government said.

The check-up said that Eraring provides around 20 percent of NSW’s delivered electricity, and replacing the plant would be significantly challenging.

“With just three-and-a-half years’ notice, it is almost impossible without reliability and affordability impacts,” according to the check-up report.

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