Some $32 billion in renewable energy investment will be unlocked under a NSW plan to cut red tape, emissions and the state’s reliance on coal.
The electricity infrastructure roadmap, unveiled on Monday, will create renewable energy zones in regional communities, deliver 9000 new jobs and support 12 gigawatts of renewable energy and two gigawatts of storage, such as pumped hydro.
Landholders are expected to pocket $1.5 billion in rent by 2042 for hosting new infrastructure.
Energy Minister Matt Keen said the priority was to keep the lights on and get power prices down, with households forecast to save on bills each year.
“NSW has some of the best natural resources in the world and this roadmap is about acting now to leverage our competitive advantage and to position NSW as an energy superpower,” he said in a statement.
The government hopes the plan will create a long-term investment signal for new generation in the zones, long-duration storage such as pumped hydro, and on-demand supply such as gas and batteries.
“The roadmap will make sure that renewables are developed where regional communities want them and where they are compatible with farming,” Deputy Premier John Barilaro said.
The plan was welcomed by farmers and environmentalists for helping address climate change.
Crookwell sheep farmer Charlie Prell said hosting wind turbines on his family farm had given him and his family a lifeline as they battled the droughts and floods that were exacerbated by climate change.
“New income from hosting renewables will allow farmers to improve their farming operations, create new jobs, and improve biodiversity and ecological resilience in a changing climate,” the Farmers for Climate Action chairman said in a statement.
“This increases our contribution to the local economy when we spend in local communities.”
About 60 new solar and wind farms were expected to be built, more than quadrupling NSW’s clean energy generation, the Nature Conservation Council said.
The Climate Council said the plan would help address the climate crisis and help communities recover from the economic crisis.
“We are witnessing an unstoppable wave of action when it comes to clean job creation and climate pledges. Australia now has three Liberal state governments – NSW, Tasmania and South Australia – with some of the strongest renewable energy targets in the country,” chief executive Amanda McKenzie said.