Group of wind turbines at a wind farm on a hill with cattle grazing beneath, creating renewable energy in Taralga NSW Australia.

Bidding for the inaugural tender under New South Wales Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap has now closed, demonstrating strong market interest in both generation and long-term storage tenders.

At the close of project bids, Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) Services – which administers the process in its capacity as NSW Consumer Trustee – had received more than 5.5GW of wind and solar generation projects and more than 2.5GW of long duration storage projects covering technologies such as pumped hydro, lithium-ion batteries, hydrogen fuel cells and compressed air storage.

New South Wales’ Energy Minister, Matt Kean, said the level of interest was an outstanding result for the Government’s long-term plan to modernise the State’s electricity system.

“This is an overwhelming response from the market and a strong endorsement of the Roadmap’s vision for our electricity system,” Mr Kean said.

“Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine and the resulting global energy crisis has added extra impetus to modernise our electricity system.

“The need for new sources of electricity generation that are not tied to the volatility of global commodity prices has never been greater.

“The best way to provide structural, long-term relief from high electricity bills is to drive in new supply and put downward pressure on energy prices at the source, which is exactly what our Roadmap is doing.”

Successful projects will be awarded long-term energy service agreements, underwriting the delivery of built energy resources that will benefit the long-term interests of the State’s electricity consumers.

AEMO Services’ Chair, Dr Paul Moy, said that the robust response to the first tender had positioned the Roadmap well to start delivering the New South Wales electricity market transition.

“The Roadmap is a decade-long program of investment, but given the time involved in bringing projects to completion, early engagement is crucial to bring forward those with the most potential to meet the state’s emerging energy needs as the current fleet of coal fired generators reach retirement,” Dr Moy said.

“With a diverse portfolio of projects now in the initial assessment process, we’re confident that the successful bidders will be well-positioned to bring additional supply to market as is required.”

AEMO Services’ Executive General Manager, Paul Verschuer, said as part of the next stage in the tender process, projects would be shortlisted according to a set of merit criteria which evaluate the deliverability of the project, the quality of the proponent and social licence, before being assessed for financial value.

“We recognise there is an increasing need for additional energy generation and storage. Our tenders are designed to drive competition from projects that are able to deliver that energy in the interests of New South Wales electricity consumers,” Mr Verschuer said.

“This tender had an indicative size of 950MW of generation and 600MW of long duration storage. We can recommend greater or less capacity than this size if it is in the long-term financial interests of consumers to do so.

“We have a strict mandate to only recommend those projects that can demonstrate value to host communities and financial value to consumers, and in order to be successful bids will need to reflect that.

This tender round is the first in a biannual schedule that will run for the next ten years, open to eligible projects located anywhere in New South Wales.

The anticipated scale and timing of each tender round for generation and long duration storage is set out under the 20-year Development Pathway and ten-year Tender Plan contained in AEMO Services’ Infrastructure Investment Report.

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