8 GW Project On Offer In NSW, Australia, After Success with May 3 GW Project

8 GW Project On Offer In NSW, Australia, After Success with May 3 GW Project

New South Wales, whose state capital Sydney is the largest financial and commercial centre in Australia, has announced its second 8 GW Renewable Energy Zone (REZ). the new announcement follows the success the state had with it first such zone, that was announced in May this year was for a capacity of 3 GW, and drew interest for almost 27 GW, or 9 times the capacity on offer. The project called the Central-West Orana REZ is about 300km north-west of Sydney.

For New South Wales, the response to the Central West Orana project has obviously meant a quick relook at its renewable plan, upwards. The state, which is powered mostly by thermal energy up until now, is seeking to make a decisive shift away towards renewables.

The New England REZ, in the state’s north-west, as the new offer is named, is expected to attract $12.7 billion in investment and support 2,000 construction jobs and 1,300 ongoing jobs. The NSW government itself  plans to invest AUD 79 million (USD 54.8m) to develop the new zone in the northern part of the state.

The new offer also easily makes NSW the bellweather state the leader in Australia as far as size of commitment and actual capacity goes.

 “The nine-fold level of interest in the Central-West Orana REZ was astounding, so it makes absolute sense to go even bigger with the New England REZ,” NSW Energy Minister Matt Kean said.

NSW currently has 3.3 GW of utility scale solar and wind capacity,  and is ramping up fast now as some of the older coal plants in the region are scheduled to be shut , starting 2023 onwards. That opens up a market for replacement capacity as well as fresh capacity for growth, something the state is keen to fill in with renewable energy.

Till recently, a massive geographical spread has meant that many Australian states have found it easier to push rooftop solar with subsidies, including for storage, than large scale utility solar, as transmission costs become a real factor in end delivery.

For EPC firms like Sterling and Wilson, which has tasted some big wins in Australia after a long and patient wait, the news is surely welcome, as growth in its home market continues to falter, and the Australian market has seen a high fatality rate among previous EPC players, leaving a market with limited competition to manage for the Indian EPC giant.

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Prasanna Singh

Prasanna has been a media professional for over 20 years. He is the Group Editor of Saur Energy International