The Central West Orana Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) has lodged an Environmental Impact Statement for a transmission project that will connect it to the energy grid, marking a major milestone for the zone and making it the first REZ to reach this stage of development.
Once complete, the Central West Orana REZ will deliver at least 3GW of transmitted electricity, which is enough to power 1.4 million homes. It will take New South Wales closer to the target of replacing 12GW of renewable energy generation, and 2GW of long-duration storage by 2030. The transmission and generation projects in the Central West Orana REZ will deliver up to $10 billion in private investment to the region and around 5,000 jobs at the peak of construction.
The Central West Orana REZ is approximately 20,000 sq km, and takes in cities and towns including Dubbo, Dunedoo and Mudgee.
The Environmental Impact Statement is the result of more than two years of technical studies and community consultation. This includes detailed assessment of potential impacts on visual amenity, agriculture, roads, noise, biodiversity, water resources and cumulative impacts on community infrastructure and services such as housing supply and health services in the region.
The Department of Planning and Environment will publicly exhibit the Environmental Impact Statement between 28 September 2023 and 26 October 2023. EnergyCo will also be hosting information sessions to help the community learn more about the Environmental Impact Statement.
All stakeholders are encouraged to provide feedback via the New South Wales Planning Portal before the Department of Planning and Environment makes a determination.
New South Wales Minister for Energy, Penny Sharpe, said that the lodgement of the Environmental Impact Statement demonstrates the State Government’s commitment to ensuring New South Wales households, businesses and industry can access clean, affordable and reliable energy as coal-fired power stations retire.
“It shows the New South Wales Government is getting the roadmap to renewables back on track, so we can ensure there is enough renewable energy to replace ageing coal-fired power stations.
“The Central-West Orana transmission project will be capable of connecting at least 3GW of renewable energy generated by wind and solar projects, which is enough to power a quarter of the state’s energy demand, as well as another 2GW of firming storage.
“We will be working closely with communities through the Environmental Impact Statement process.”