2539
Views

Boost to Offshore Wind in Australia with New Renewable Energy Zone

Wind farm

Published Dec 11, 2022 12:46 PM by The Maritime Executive

The NSW Government has declared the Hunter-Central Coast Renewable Energy Zone (REZ), marking the fourth REZ in NSW following the advancement of the Central-West Orana, New England, and South-West zones.

REZs are the equivalent of modern-day power stations, connecting multiple renewable energy projects and electricity storage to capitalize on economies of scale and deliver cheap, reliable, and clean electricity for homes and businesses in NSW. As the Infrastructure Planner for the Hunter-Central Coast REZ, EnergyCo will work with network operators to deliver any required augmentations to transmission infrastructure to connect renewable generation and storage projects to the grid. The region is served by two large ports, Port Botany and Port Kembla, that will play a pivotal role in the development of offshore wind projects.

"The newly declared Renewable Energy Zone is a resource-rich region offering great renewable energy resources, with significant port and transport infrastructure, a skilled workforce, and the capability to repurpose existing power stations and rehabilitated mining land," Mike Young, Executive Director at EnergyCo, said.

REZs are the equivalent of modern-day power stations, connecting multiple renewable energy projects and electricity storage to capitalize on economies of scale and deliver cheap, reliable, and clean electricity for homes and businesses in NSW.

"The Hunter-Central Coast REZ will ensure these regions play a key role in a renewable energy future," Young added. "They will power existing industries and support economic growth including emerging technology in green hydrogen, ammonia and metal production, offshore wind, electric vehicle fleet operators as well as electrification of industrial processes."

There is strong commercial interest in developing renewable generation and storage projects in the Hunter and Central Coast region, with almost 40 gigawatts and more than $100 billion of potential investment interest, including offshore wind. The Hunter-Central Coast REZ will assist existing industries in decarbonizing and supporting the development of Hunter hydrogen hubs and clean manufacturing precincts by supplying the renewable energy required to power these industries.

"There is a mammoth challenge ahead of the renewables industry," Jason Willoughby, CWP Renewables CEO, said. "We are being asked to deliver the equivalent of a 290 MW wind farm every month for the next 90 months. That is what is required in wind generation alone under the step change scenario of AEMO's 2022 Integrated System Plan. Making this a reality will help us reach 80% renewables and meet the legislated 43% emissions reduction target by 2030."