First renewable energy zone in Australia gets green signal

Sydney: The state government of New South Wales (NSW) said on Thursday that the Central-West Orana Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) transmission project has become the first of its kind in Australia to achieve planning approval.


According to an official statement, that would pave the way for the construction of essential transmission infrastructure to connect large-scale solar, wind, and energy storage projects to the electricity grid.

Covering nearly 20,000 square km, the REZ takes in cities and towns such as Dubbo, Dunedoo, and Mudgee, predominantly in the central west region of NSW, the Xinhua news agency reported.

The state government estimated that the project could drive up to 20 billion Australian dollars (about $13.3 billion) in private investment in solar, wind, and energy storage projects, supporting around 5,000 jobs during peak construction.

Once finished, the project would also unlock at least 4.5 gigawatts of transmitted electricity, which is enough to power 1.8 million homes.

“Planning approval of transmission lines means work can begin on the construction and operation of around 240 km of lines and supporting infrastructure within the Central West Orana REZ,” the NSW government noted.

Paul Scully, the state minister for planning and public spaces, viewed the step of getting approval as a huge one forward in “progressing 12 GW gigawatts of generation under the NSW Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap and moving towards our clean energy future.”.

“Our recent budget invested money into the planning system to support and speed up the NSW Government’s assessment of renewable energy projects and meet our 2050 goal of net zero emissions,” the Minister added.


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