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Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) are starting to be put in place to systematically replace the existing coal fired fleet of generators with renewable generation and storage. As the largest energy user in the country, NSW has compiled 5 REZ across the state. NSW is closing 10,000MW of coal fired generation over the coming years so needs to offset this reduction with new generation.

Of the 5 REZs planned, the New England REZ is by far the largest accounting for 8,000MW of wind, solar and storage.

The map forms part of the draft declaration of the New England REZ released on 15 October. The process will take time with regulatory and legal approvals required followed by the tender and auction process to build the renewables and storage projects.

The initial EOI for the New England REZ attracted over 34,000MW of wind, solar and storage projects.

EOIs for other REZs attracted a large amount of interest with the Central West REZ seeking 3,000MW but attracting 27,000MW of proposals.

An interesting note following the weekends’ National party rooms discussions regarding net zero emissions is that the New England REZ is in Barnaby Joyce’s electorate.

The newly created Energy Corporation of NSW (EnergyCo) is the statutory authority to deliver the NSW REZs so they will be responsible for the infrastructure planning and will put forward future network infrastructure projects. EnergyCo will also coordinate the access framework for the REZ which could prevent projects from connecting to parts of the REZ if they have not received development approval.

So all looks good for the development of renewable energy in NSW, it appears there are amble developers capable of delivering the electricity powered by renewables to offset the closure of coal fired generation, there is a storage solution available to firm up the intermittent renewable generation and we have a NSW government controlled statutory authority leading the delivery.