The NSW Government has released a new electricity strategy, which prioritises action on energy efficiency, helps to remove the barriers to clean energy investment and supports the rollout of ‘smart’ devices.
The NSW Electricity Strategy flags a major revamp of the state’s Energy Savings Scheme, which will be extended to 2050 and rebadged the Energy Security Safeguard.
Energy Efficiency Council CEO, Luke Menzel, said that with this announcement, NSW has moved into a leadership position on smart energy management.
“The new Energy Security Safeguard will do two crucial things. Firstly, it will raise the ambition of NSW’s energy efficiency target, which will drive energy and cost savings for NSW households and businesses,” Mr Menzel said.
“Secondly, it will establish a companion effort on demand management, which will support the rollout of smart devices and equipment that can automatically take load of the system when demand is high.”
The NSW Electricity Strategy also includes a range of new measures to encourage investment in firmed, large-scale renewable generation.
Mr Menzel backed the NSW Government’s balanced approach to encouraging investment in energy efficiency, renewables and smart energy management.
“Energy efficiency to bring down bills. Firmed renewables to replace aging generators. New, smart devices and equipment to balance the system,” Mr Menzel said.
“Together, these elements add up to a credible plan to deliver an affordable, reliable and sustainable twenty-first century energy system, and it is a template that should be emulated around the country.”
Clean Energy Council (CEC) Chief Executive, Kane Thornton, said plans to support the rollout of Renewable Energy Zones (REZs) were also particularly exciting and would help to address the need for new generation capacity to secure the state’s future energy supply.
“NSW has rightly identified the need to accelerate investment in renewable energy and energy storage. Currently NSW is the most heavily coal-dependent state in the country, and with four of its coal-fired power stations due to close in the next 15 years, it’s critical to start planning for the future now,” Mr Thorton said.
“It is great to see a government show leadership by progressing Australia’s first coordinated REZ. The pilot REZ and dedicated REZ body are great initiatives and will play a key role in improving reliability and delivering affordable energy to replace the state’s existing coal generators as they retire.”
“While there’s still plenty of work to be done, it’s a great step forward for NSW and will undoubtedly help build confidence to invest in new clean energy projects in the state. With recent CEC analysis revealing a 60 per cent reduction in clean energy investment over the past 12 months, this is exactly the type of commitment we need from government to address the current challenges facing investors.”