Australian ‘renewable energy zone’ attracts 17 GW of project proposals


From pv magazine Australia

The government of New South Wales, Australia, said the Illawarra Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) south of Sydney has attracted AUD 43 billion ($29.4 billion) of potential investments in response to a call for expressions of interest for large-scale energy projects.

New South Wales Treasurer and Energy Minister Matt Kean said the state has received commercial interest to develop 44 projects, including wind, solar, energy storage, pumped hydro and green hydrogen production totaling 17 GW of capacity.

“The response has been tremendous, with particularly strong interest in offshore wind, energy storage technologies and green hydrogen,” Kean said. “The Illawarra REZ will help deliver cheap and reliable energy, power existing industries, support emerging industries to thrive and create thousands of new jobs in the future.”

The proposals include five large-scale solar projects, 16 energy storage projects, and four pumped-hydro projects. Investors have also proposed two onshore wind energy projects and eight offshore installations, as well as three new “load projects,” including green steel manufacturing.

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“This highlights the variety of large-scale energy projects being developed in the region, that will ensure the Illawarra plays a role as the powerhouse of the renewable energy economy,” Kean said.

The Illawarra REZ is one of five renewable energy zones included in the New South Wales government’s electricity roadmap. The state aims to support more than AUD 32 billion of private investment in renewable energy generation, storage and transmission.

The Energy Corporation of NSW (EnergyCo), a state-run authority behind the REZs, said it will now work closely with industry, local government, local communities and other stakeholders. The Illawarra REZ is expected to be formally declared under the New South Wales government’s electricity roadmap legislation by the end of 2022. REZs are also being developed in other parts of the state. They are expected to bring at least 12 GW of renewable energy and 2 GW of storage online.

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