Renewable Energy Action Plan
The Plan has 24 actions under 3 goals that detail the Government’s intention to work closely with NSW communities and the renewable energy industry to increase renewable energy generation in the state at the least cost to the consumer.
Over the life of the Plan, the share of wind and solar energy in NSW’s electricity generation mix has tripled. This includes generation from rooftop solar, large-scale solar and wind farms.
The Plan was implemented alongside a separate Energy Efficiency Action Plan.
In December 2018, we completed the implementation of the Renewable Energy Action Plan.
The Government has worked with industry, communities and research institutions to implement the plan’s 24 actions under three goals. This includes the following headline achievements.
Goal 1: Attracted renewable energy investment and projects
- Contributed funding to Australia’s first major solar farms at Nyngan and Broken Hill.
- Entered into a contract with the Beryl Solar Farm in the State’s central west to use enough renewable energy to cover all of Sydney Metro Northwest’s operational electricity needs.
- Provided targeted assistance to five solar farms with total capacity of 160 megawatts (MW) in Dubbo, Glen Innes, Griffith, Parkes and Manildra to leverage $34.9m from the Commonwealth’s Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).
- Signed an agreement to buy renewable energy from the 24 MW Dubbo Solar Hub which underpinned the project reaching finance close and beginning construction.
- Introduced a streamlined approach to the assessment of solar projects without compromising environmental standards or community engagement.
- Helped 20 businesses in NSW plan to achieve 100 per cent renewable energy use and reduce their emissions through the Clean Energy Strategies for Business program.
- Supported the University of Technology Sydney, Institute for Sustainable Futures’ Network Opportunity Maps, which highlight where renewable energy, energy storage and demand management can be used to meet network constraints.
- Commissioned research by the Australian Photovoltaics Institute that revealed at least a quarter of the roof space in Sydney’s inner city is available for solar panels.
- Appointed a dedicated advocate for renewable energy within government to oversee delivery of the Plan.
Goal 2: Built community support
- Created an opportunity for ten innovators and early adopters to test and trial new clean energy solutions through $300,000 of co-funding under the Knowledge Sharing Initiative.
- Provided $860,000 in early stage funding to 19 groups across NSW to help overcome barriers by community energy projects.
- Released planning guidelines for wind and draft planning guidelines for solar to ensure NSW has the right settings to attract investment and balance the interests of the community.
- Consulted on draft Large-scale Solar Energy Guidelines which outlines the key assessment considerations for solar farms and seeks to encourage best practice, genuine, early consultation with the community and stakeholders.
- Provided $430,000 in funding towards a feasibility study for a renewable energy hub in the New England Region to examine network constraints and customer costs.
- Commissioned research into community awareness, knowledge and attitudes to renewable energy technologies across NSW, which showed strong public support.
- Released information on strategic options for delivering ownership and benefit sharing models for wind farms in NSW, to help outline ways for industry to contribute to local communities.
- Launched GreenPower Connect as a new low-cost product for direct bulk purchases of renewable energy over and above the national renewable energy target.
Goal 3: Attracted and grew renewable energy expertise
- Provided $4.6 million to Australian biofuel company Ethtec to develop a purpose-built bioenergy hub in the Hunter region, which will employ up to 20 researchers and technicians.
- Unlocked the market-led rollout of smart meters for NSW customers by removing regulatory barriers.
- Supported Networks Renewed, the practical research project led by University of Technology Sydney, Institute for Sustainable Futures, to learn how smart technologies can help provide solar benefits to the electricity grid.
- Funded the Australian portal of the US Department of Energy’s Global Energy Storage Database, which will inform investors, developers, and researchers on the latest commercial and utility scale energy storage installations.
- Launched the Hunter Energy Transition Alliance between government, industry, and the community to attract new investment and achieve economic diversity for the Upper Hunter Region.
- Supported the Australian Biomass for Bioenergy Assessment to help build investment in the bioenergy industry.