- NSW plans to amend the network capacity of its Central-West Orana REZ
- It would expand the capacity from 3 GW now up to 6 GW by 2038
- Aimed at accommodating future expansion and flexibility to deliver energy reliability
Citing the need to support the state’s future energy requirements, the State Government of New South Wales (NSW) in Australia wants to ‘right-size’ the declaration of one of its 5 renewable energy zones (REZ), the Central-West Orana REZ, expanding its solar, wind and storage network capacity to 6 GW by 2038.
When it was launched in May 2020, the Central-West Orana REZ was said to offer 3 GW capacity. It was heavily oversubscribed since registrations came in for a total of 27 GW (see NSW Receives 27 GW Interest For 3 GW REZ).
Now, under the state’s Network Infrastructure Strategy, it aims to increase the network capacity of the zone up to 4.5 GW under stage 1, going up to 6 GW by 2038 under stage 2, without altering its already decided geographical size.
For a REZ, the network capacity refers to the maximum amount of power transferred from renewable energy generated and stored within the zone to the state’s transmission system at any point in time.
The government has proposed to amend the Central-West Orana REZ declaration finalized in November 2021.
“This will allow the Central-West Orana REZ to cost-effectively accommodate future expansion and provide flexibility to deliver energy reliability and put downward pressure on electricity bills as we transition our economy away from a reliance on fossil fuels,” said Energy Corporation of NSW (EnergyCo) Chief Executive James Hay.
NSW targets to accommodate 14 GW of power generation and storage capacity through its 20-year Network Infrastructure Strategy by 2033 as the state moves forward on its net– zero vision and as more coal-fired power generation capacity progressively retires.
The state government is now seeking public consultation to the proposed amendment for the Central-West Orana REZ declaration. Feedback can be submitted till September 4, 2023.
Beyond Central-West Orana, NSW has announced 4 other REZs, namely New England, South West, Hunter-Central Coast and Illawarra (see Australia’s NSW Declares 5th Renewable Energy Zone).
The Central-West Orana REZ is expected to bring close to AUD 10 billion in private investment to the region by 2030, according to government estimates.