March 17 (Renewables Now) - The Australian state of New South Wales plans to fast-track the delivery of the first of three renewable energy zones that, together, are expected to accommodate up to 17,700 MW of new capacity over the next two decades.
The three zones, situated in the Central-West, New England and South West, could attract up to AUD 23 billion (USD 13.9bn/EUR 12.5bn) worth of private sector investment and open about 2,000 construction jobs a year in regional New South Wales, according to the “Net Zero Plan Stage 1: 2020-2030” that was released over the weekend. The document says that the transmission infrastructure in those regions will be expanded in order to open new parts of the grid for wind, solar and other renewable energy projects.
The creation of the zones, bundled with the establishment of an Energy Security Safeguard and an expanded Energy Efficiency Programme, is expected to cut annual household bills by AUD 40.
At the same time, the state government will expand its existing Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Plan by developing an Electric Vehicle Infrastructure and Model Availability Programme, which should fast-track the growth of the regional EV market. The document says that in Australia EVs would achieve upfront price parity with traditional combustion engine vehicles from 2024.
One other measure included in the plan is that the state government is more than doubling its solar target from 55,000 MWh to 126,000 MWh by 2024.
The “Net Zero Plan Stage 1: 2020-2030” outlines the actions the state should take so that it can reach net zero emissions by 2050. The plan can be viewed here: https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/-/media/OEH/Corporate-Site/Documents/Climate-change/net-zero-plan-2020-2030-200057.pdf?la=en&hash=D65AA226F83B8113382956470EF649A31C74AAA7
Meanwhile, the University of New South Wales in Sydney made a commitment to offload all fossil fuel assets by 2025 as part of its net-zero emissions goal.
(AUD 1.0 = USD 0.605/EUR 0.545)