Shortlist named for first NSW Renewable Energy Zone


Joseph Brookes
Senior Reporter

The New South Wales Government on Wednesday shortlisted three groups of companies to establish a key part of Australia’s first renewable energy zone in the state’s central-west.

The groups will now develop final proposals for a transmission zone for the Central-West Orana renewable energy zone, with a contract to be awarded next year.

New South Wales renewable energy zones (REZ) are being developed as “modern day power stations” by combining renewable energy generation like wind and solar, storage such as batteries, and high-voltage poles and wires to deliver energy to users.

NSW names shortlist for renewables

Announced in 2020, REZs are part of the New South Wales Government and Energy minister Matt Kean’s plan to bring 12 GW of renewable energy and 2 GW of storage online by 2030.

The Central-West Orana Rez is serving as a pilot, with additional zones are added in the South-West, New England, Irrawarra and Hunter-Central Coast regions.

The first REZ is expected to unlock 3 gigawatts of new network capacity by the mid-2020s, enough to power 1.4 million homes.

On Wednesday, the state government revealed the three groups of companies in the running to develop the first REZ transmission zone in the Central-West Orana region around Dubbo.

The three groups are:

  • ACE Energy, comprising Acciona, Cobra and Endeavour Energy;
  • Network REZolution, comprising Pacific Partnerships, UGL, CPB Contractors and APA Group; and
  • NewGen Networks, comprising Plenary Group, Elecnor, Essential Energy and SecureEnergy

“Combining generation and storage with poles and wires, the REZ will capitalise on economies of scale to deliver energy to homes and businesses in NSW,” Mr Kean said.

The network operator will be responsible for financing, building and operating the new REZ infrastructure. New grid connections will include energy hubs and new high-capacity transmission lines.

“The network operator will play a critical role in the REZ by connecting power from energy suppliers, including wind and solar farms, and distributing it to energy consumers across the State,” deputy premier Paul Toole said.

The state-controlled Energy Corporation of NSW (EnergyCo NSW) has been appointed as the infrastructure planner dor the REZ. It will soon invite the shortlisted tenderers to respond to a Request for Proposal. A contract will be awarded in 2023.

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