In keeping with our commitment to annually report on progress made in delivering the NSW Renewable Energy Action Plan (the Plan), the NSW Government has released the NSW Renewable Energy Action Plan Annual Report 2015 (1.64 PDF).
In the second year of the Plan, 12 of the 24 actions have been completed while nine more have been progressed.
Key achievements include:
1. Attract renewable energy investment
- The Division of Resources and Energy has provided support for 17 large-scale renewable energy projects totalling 4,500 megawatts (MW) of capacity and $6 billion in investment.
- The $440 million Solar Flagships projects progressed with the Nyngan Solar Plant achieving its maximum designed generation capacity and over half of the photovoltaic modules at the Broken Hill Solar Plant are generating electricity.
- Over the past year, three large-scale renewable energy projects, including Nyngan Solar Plant, came online, representing over $900 million of investment, 380 MW of capacity and enough output to power 140,000 homes each year.
- The NSW Government sponsored the Network Opportunity Mapping project led by the Institute of Sustainable Futures, which will highlight opportunities for renewable energy to meet network constraints.
2. Build community support
- The NSW Government provided early stage funding of $846,000 under the Growing Community Energy grants to 19 groups across the state who are working to develop community energy projects.
- The Regional Clean Energy Coordinators have supported communities to participate in renewable energy initiatives, providing an opportunity to ask questions, as well as access information, resources and government programs.
- The GreenPower Program raised the public profile of renewable energy by powering Sydney Opera House and Sydney Live as part of the Vivid Sydney Festival.
3. Attract and grow renewable energy expertise
- The NSW Interactive Research Map was launched by the Office of NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer and StudyNSW to showcase the State's higher education, science, and research and development facilities.
- The Energy Innovation Knowledge Hub is fostering a new collaborative energy sector in the Hunter region and has embarked on a series of programs to facilitate information exchange between business and the research community.
- The prize for NSW Renewable Energy Innovation was awarded to Professor Behdad Moghtaderi from the University of Newcastle for his GRANEXTM heat engine invention, which generates electricity from geothermal sources and industrial waste heat streams.
- The NSW Government announced it will provide $18 million over the next year to support innovation and investment in the State's research and development capacity under the Research Attraction and Acceleration Program. This presents potential opportunities for applications from the renewable energy research sector.
About the NSW Renewable Energy Action Plan
In September 2013, the NSW Government released the NSW Renewable Energy Action Plan [PDF 2.72 MB] to guide NSW's renewable energy development and to support the former national target of 20% renewable energy by 2020.
The NSW Government's vision is for a secure, reliable, affordable and clean energy future for the state.
The Plan positions the state to increase energy from renewable sources at least cost to the energy customer and with maximum benefits to NSW.
The strategy is to work closely with NSW communities and the renewable energy industry to increase renewable energy generation in NSW.
Consistent with the Plan, the Government has made a submission to the 2014 Renewable Energy Target Review which supports retaining but reforming the Scheme. Read the NSW Government submission to the Review of the Renewable Energy Target [PDF 172 KB].
Goals and actions
The NSW Renewable Energy Action Plan [PDF 2.72 MB] details 24 actions under three important goals:
Goal 1 – Attract renewable energy investment
With the largest installed renewable energy capacity in Australia, and with abundant renewable energy resources, NSW is well positioned to attract future renewable energy development.
The NSW Government is focused on practical steps to remove barriers to investment in renewable energy, including:
- improving network connections
- streamlining the planning process
- creating a supportive regulatory environment
- promoting investment opportunities in NSW
- maintaining a fair price for solar and a sustainable solar industry.
Goal 2 – Build community support
The NSW Government will give the community a say on decisions that affect them. We will build support for renewable energy by:
- implementing the NSW planning guidelines for wind energy projects
- engaging with the community early and effectively on renewable energy projects
- supporting community-owned renewable energy projects
- arming consumers with better information
- supporting renewable energy technologies through the establishment of the Renewable Energy Advocate.
Goal 3 – Attract and grow renewable energy expertise
NSW will attract and grow expertise in renewable energy technologies by:
- creating renewable energy hubs
- continuing to lead on research and innovation
- facilitating partnerships between industry, government and research organisations
- supporting the commercialisation of renewable technologies.
NSW Renewable Energy Advocate
The NSW Renewable Energy Advocate is a position established to support the Plan. The Advocate's role is to work closely with NSW communities and industry to facilitate the development of renewable energy projects, increase renewable energy generation in NSW and promote investment in renewable energy.
The Advocate has specific responsibilities for Actions 1, 4, 5, 8 and 17 under the Plan. This includes providing support for the Regional Clean Energy Program.
Appointing an Advocate for the first time in Australia underlines the NSW Government's strong commitment to ensure energy security through diversity.
Contact the Renewable Energy Advocate by email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to GPO Box 3889, Sydney NSW 2001.
The Minister for Industry, Resources and Energy is leading the delivery of the Plan, working with the Parliamentary Secretary for Renewable Energy and the Renewable Energy Advocate to report on progress.
A working group has been established to guide the implementation of the 24 Actions set out in the Plan. Chaired by the Renewable Energy Advocate, the Working Group is helping to ensure the Plan is delivered using an integrated, whole of government approach.
The plan is being implemented alongside a separate Energy Efficiency Action Plan, led by the Minister for the Environment. This recognises the common policy intent of energy efficiency measures in attracting investment and growing expertise, building community support and containing electricity costs for customers.