• Emerging Energy Program, launched by the New South Wales government in Australia, will support transition to clean, large-scale dispatchable electricity, and replace coal fired generation capacity with renewables as solar and wind
  • Technology neutral projects with 5 MW minimum capacity, connected to NSW region of NEM that will help the state reduce emissions
  • Eligible projects will be funded by the state government and ARENA or another co-funding organization
  • The government will open the program for registration and also issue a call for expression of interest in Q1/2019

The New South Wales (NSW) state government has launched its AU$55 million ($39.2 million) Emerging Energy Program to build up a pipeline of projects that will support the commercialization of new large-scale dispatchable electricity capacity. It will encourage private sector investment to support next generation large-scale energy and storage projects.

UNSW will back technology neutral projects with funding to commercialize those that provide dispatchable or on-demand energy to meet the Australian state’s energy needs. The funding will also support pre-investment studies to help get new projects off the ground. It may come from the state government and Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) or another co-funding organization.

According to the program documents, anticipated grant funding of up to AU$10 million ($7.13 million) will be available for capital projects and up to AU$500,000 ($356,350) for pre-investment studies, with a minimum capacity of 5 MW. It should be connected to the NSW region of the National Electricity Market (NEM).

The state government will open the program for registration and issue a call for expression of interest in Q1/2019 once the program guidelines will be released.

While no specific mention of renewables is made, RenewEconomy points out the clause that puts an emissions intensity cap of 0.5 tons of CO2-e on the projects in this program. This, it says, ‘effectively rules out coal’, may allow for some form of gas generation, however, falling cost of wind, solar and storage works puts these in a good stead.

In September 2018 there were almost 17,000 MW of new gas, renewable energy and generator upgrades worth $21 billion either with, or seeking, NSW planning approval. It is expected that new dispatchable, emerging energy resources will be needed in the system over the next two decades to support this transition,” according to the program documents.

Details about the program are available on the website of NSW Energy.

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) in its June 2018 Integrated System Plan emphasized that going forward, energy security will be supported by new flexible, dispatchable resources at utility scale. Around 70% of the existing generation fleet in the state, powered mostly by coal, is set to retire by 2035, and will be replaced by solar, storage, wind, and hydro, as per AEMO data.