In Australia, NSW’s Second REZ Targets $10 Billion Investments

Highlights :

  • The concept of an REZ , or renewable energy zone is a good starting place for any country with a large renewable plan.
  • Australia’s success with its renewable push is a good study in how to make it work.

New South Wales (NSW), which also houses state capital and Australia’s largest city Sydney, has just declared its second Renewable Energy Zone (REZ), as part of its long term strategy to replace its fossil fuel driven electricity sector with renewable energy.

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The latest zone is the New England REZ, based around Armidale in the state’s north. This comes two months after the first zone was declared, the Central-West Orana REZ. Besides other benefits, the zone also has opportunities for pimped hydro projects, which could be crucial for energy storage on demand.

The idea is to concentrate renewable energy capacity creation in these zones, complimented with large storage,  to drive in higher scale economies as well as transmission infrastructure. Plans are also afoot to have some offshore zones where offshore wind or even tidal energy could be harnessed possibly.

The New England REZ planned for 8GW of wind, solar and storage capacity, but the response has been massive, with upto 25 GW worth interest indicated.

Australia’s states have taken the lead in the push for renewables, with Tasmania setting a 200% target for renewable energy by 2040. NSW and South Australia have also made aggressive plans. The country already has a rooftop solar penetration of over 30%, making rooftop solar the largest contributor to its renewable basket and second overall.
Other plans include massive renewable energy farms planned to export energy to South East Asia by Suncable, or even to manufacture green hydrogen for domestic use and exports worldwide. The longer term view in the country is coming around to the reality that its pre-eminent role as the world’s largest coal exporter is in its final two decades, and the country needs to act now to ensure even when coal exports dwindle, it continues to be an energy exporter thanks to its abundant land which can be used for renewable energy.

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