The Clean Energy Council welcomes today's announcement by the New South Wales Government to develop a second, 8000 MW renewable energy zone (REZ) in the New England region.
The move follows the results of the Clean Energy Council's latest Clean Energy Outlook – Confidence Index, which showed NSW ranked first of the states and territories when it comes to investor confidence, scoring 7.3 out of 10 at the end of June 2020, up from 6.5 at the end of 2019.
Clean Energy Council Chief Executive, Kane Thornton said that it made sense to fast-track the New England REZ.
"There is clear interest from investors when it comes to clean energy projects – one only needs to look at the interest generated by the Central West REZ last month with 27 GW of solar, wind and storage proposals," Thornton said.
"Renewable energy proponents are ready to invest, but there is limited spare capacity in the transmission network for new projects. We need new transmission if we want more renewable energy, so we support the NSW Government's focus on delivering strategic transmission upgrades for the REZ.
"These are the initiatives that will drive Australia's economic recovery from COVID-19. A Clean Recovery with renewable energy infrastructure projects will create jobs, revitalise economic activity, reduce our carbon emissions and drive down power prices.
"I congratulate the NSW Government for its leadership in transitioning the state from one that is highly dependent on coal-fired power to one that is an energy and economic superpower in a low-carbon economy."
The New England REZ will attract $12.7 billion in investment, support 2000 construction jobs and 1300 ongoing jobs and will be able to power 3.5 million homes.
Together with the Central West REZ, this represents 11 GW of new generation capacity, covering more than the capacity of the NSW coal-fired generators expected to retire by 2036.