Annual Report 2016
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 2016 (2.14 MB PDF).
In the third year of the Plan, 17 of the 24 actions have been completed while seven more have been progressed.
Key achievements in 2015–16
Goal 1: Attract renewable energy investment
- The operational electricity use of the state’s signature infrastructure project Sydney Metro Northwest will be fully offset by renewable energy from NSW.
- Focused support was provided to the NSW solar farms shortlisted under ARENA’s Competitive Round for Large-scale Solar, which ensured that all eight solar farms had planning approval and offers to connect ahead of the application deadline.
- A government tender was launched for renewable energy from around 50 megawatts of installed solar capacity to increase the competitive standing of shortlisted solar farms applying for ARENA funding.
- A streamlined approach to the assessment of solar projects was developed by working closely across government and with stakeholders to proactively address issues, without any compromise on environmental standards or community engagement.
- NSW supported the launch of the Institute for Sustainable Futures’ Network Opportunity Maps, which illustrate where renewable energy, energy storage and demand management can be used to meet network constraints.
Goal 2: Build community support
- A new Wind Energy Development Framework was developed that will ensure NSW has the right settings to attract investment in wind energy, while balancing the interests of the community, with public consultation beginning in 2016–17.
- The government sought to overcome network constraints and reduce costs for customers by contributing $430,000 towards a feasibility study for a renewable energy hub in the New England Region.
- Strong public support for renewable energy was revealed by a government-commissioned study into community awareness, knowledge and attitudes to renewable energy technologies across NSW.
- Strategic options have been outlined for delivering ownership and benefit sharing models for wind farms in NSW in a report that reviews the international policy landscape.
- GreenPower Connect was launched by the government as a new low-cost product to open up the market for direct bulk purchases of renewable energy over and above the national renewable energy target.
Goal 3: Attract and grow renewable energy expertise
- The government removed barriers that will enable greater deployment of smart grid technologies through changes to the regulatory framework for the rollout of smart meters.
- NSW supported the Australian portal of the US Department of Energy’s Global Energy Storage Database, which will inform investors, developers, and researchers about the latest commercial and utility scale energy storage installations.
- The Hunter Energy Transition Alliance was launched as a collaboration between government, industry, and the community to attract new investment and achieve economic diversity for the Upper Hunter Region.
- The government signed on to support the national mission to fill the information gap and catalyse investment in the bioenergy industry through the Australian Biomass for Bioenergy Assessment.
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 email@example.com or write to GPO Box 3889, Sydney NSW 2001.
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. 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.