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A major $1.8 billion investment from the New South Wales Government is set to boost the state’s energy transition efforts, through the connection of new projects and the establishment of the Energy Security Corporation (ESC). 

The commitment will help put transmission and energy storage projects back on track, as the State Government works hard to keep the lights on during New South Wales’s switch to cleaner, affordable electricity.

The investment forms part of the government’s commitment to rebuilding the essentials in the state, including ensuring that homes and businesses have reliable power at the lowest possible cost.

The State Government said that it will commit an additional $800 million to the Transmission Acceleration Facility to connect the state’s Renewable Energy Zones (REZ) to the grid sooner and bring forward the benefit schemes for communities.

The New South Wales Government’s funding injection will support early works in the Central-West Orana REZ, around Dubbo.

This renewable zone, the first in the state, is expected at its peak to support around 5,000 construction jobs and bring up to $10 billion in private investment in the region by 2030.

The funding will also maintain momentum in the other planned REZs, the Hunter Transmission Project and the Waratah Super Battery. 

The Transmission Acceleration Facility speeds up the delivery of new transmission projects by funding early work in the zones, along with funding community benefit schemes.

Investments will be ultimately recouped from the private sector developers of the REZ projects once projects reach financial close. That money will then be recycled back into the facility to support the development of future REZ projects.

This takes the total government commitment to the Transmission Acceleration Facility to $2 billion since its establishment in 2022. The facility is administered by the Government’s Renewable Energy Zone infrastructure planner, EnergyCo.

The New South Wales Budget will also confirm $1 billion to establish the ESC.

The ESC will make investments in storage projects, addressing gaps in the current market, and improving the reliability of the electricity network as the state transitions to renewables. 

This could include investing in community batteries and virtual power plants that will allow households and communities to pool electricity generated from rooftop solar, reducing their reliance on the grid and cutting their power bills.

Once established, the ESC will make investments in commercial projects, similar to the way the Clean Energy Finance Corporation operates. 

The ESC will be established with funding from Restart NSW. The government will be consulting with stakeholders through the development process.

The New South Wales Government is also announcing a key milestone in the delivery of the Central-West Orana Renewable Energy Zone.

The government will submit the project’s Environmental Impact Statement to the Department of Planning and Environment for approval in September, and it will go on public exhibition within a few weeks.

These investments support the government’s response to the Electricity Supply and Reliability Check Up and will help deliver the target of 12GW of new renewable energy generation and 2GW of long duration storage by 2030.

New South Wales Premier, Chris Minns, said that the State Government is determined to get New South Wales back on track when it comes to the energy transition, and this announcement is part of that.

“We need to get back on track so that we can produce cleaner, more affordable energy for the people of this state,” Mr Minns said. 

“We want the state to be able to invest in solutions that ensure reliability in the system, keep the lights on, and create new jobs for the state.

“This is a serious, long-term step towards ensuring we get the transition right.”

New South Wales Minister for Energy, Penny Sharpe, said that this additional $1.8 billion investment will accelerate the transition to renewables, to ensure the state’s households and communities have a reliable supply of clean, affordable electricity.

“This is a once-in-a-generation transition that requires massive investment and coordination from the government and cooperation with the private sector,” Ms Sharpe said. 

“These investments will reignite the first of our REZs in the Central West-Orana and make sure local communities see early benefits.

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

For more energy news on the New South Wales Budget for 2023-24 visit here.

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