Windmill electricity turbine with rural outback background. Farmland and wind turbines. Myrtleville, NSW, Australia

A new Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) will be established in New South Wales’ south west region, joining similar projects in the state’s north and central west.

It is the third of five proposed REZs to be confirmed by the New South Wales Government, and will be overseen by the Energy Corporation of NSW (EnergyCo).

The project will be developed in the state’s south west, bordering on Victoria, and includes large areas of land around Hay and Balranald.

EnergyCo Executive Director, Mike Young, said the South West REZ follows the declaration of the Central-West Orana and New England REZs in 2021 and includes the areas around Hay and Balranald in the South West region of New South Wales.

“This is great news for the region which is expected to receive up to $2.8 billion in private investment by 2030 and at its peak, support over 2,000 construction jobs,” Mr Young said. 

REZs are modern day power stations bringing together low-cost solar and wind generation with transmission and storage to produce cheap, clean and reliable electricity. 

EnergyCo is the infrastructure planner for the South West REZ and will coordinate transmission, generation and storage projects. 

Mr Young said the South West REZ was chosen due to an abundance of high-quality wind and solar resources, proximity to Project EnergyConnect which is currently under construction, and strong interest from the renewable energy industry. 

“It is anticipated that Project EnergyConnect and HumeLink will unlock around 2.5GW of transmission capacity in total to support the South West REZ, following the upgrade of the eastern section of Project EnergyConnect from 330kV to 500kV operation,” Mr Young said. 

“The registration of interest process for the South West REZ attracted 49 registrations totalling 34GW from potential generation and storage projects, more than thirteen times the intended capacity of 2.5GW. 

“This is a great win for communities in the South West as the REZ will deliver a massive boost to jobs and businesses in the region as well as providing new income streams for landholders that decide to host energy infrastructure.” 

Transgrid CEO, Brett Redman, welcomed the announcement, which promises greater supply of renewable energy for the organisation’s EnergyConnect project.

“The New South Wales Government’s Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap innovatively sets up dedicated Renewable Energy Zones to give much-needed certainty to private sector investors and market participants to unlock some of Australia’s best renewable resources,” Mr Redman said.

“The REZ is well positioned along the EnergyConnect corridor, providing certainty for existing and future wind and solar generators seeking to connect to the grid and get their energy to market.

“The creation of the state’s third renewable energy zone will support the nation’s transition to renewable energy and the supply of cheaper, cleaner and more reliable electricity for consumers.”

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