New South Wales outlines standards for new renewable energy zone access scheme


The New South Wales Government has issued a draft of proposed access rules for projects wishing to participate in the state’s Renewable Energy Zones (REZ), which will offer guidelines for clean energy investments, including where projects will be built and how they will connect to the grid.

The move is expected to influence more than 30 billion Australian dollars (US$22 billion) in new wind, solar, and storage investment.

According to the NSW government’s electricity roadmap, it plans to develop 12 GW of new renewable energy generation capacity and 2 GW of energy storage capacity, which may result in an AU$32 billion (US$24 billion) investment.

With the option to access coordinated investments in new network infrastructure and the provision of long-term energy supply agreements from the NSW Government, the Renewable Energy Zones provide an investment incentive for clean energy projects.

New renewable energy projects face risks if network infrastructure investment delays. Several wind and solar projects in Australia have been delayed in connecting to the network or had their output limited as a result of network congestion. The REZ scheme is designed to help mitigate the problem.

The access schemes will enable active coordination of network, generation, and storage investment by controlling generation and storage connections in the REZs, according to the NSW Government.

The NSW Government has received several proposed projects worth AU$38 billion for the Orana-West zone, representing nearly ten times the 3,000 MW the state government seeks to bring to the zone.

Projects will be required to sign on to the proposed access standards in exchange for the benefits of participating in the Renewable Energy Zones, making performance guarantees that assure projects will be able to support the grid's reliable operation. This will include recommended guidelines for managing the voltage, frequency, and timing of generators, as well as how generators respond to potential system interruptions.

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