Perrottet Pledges Clean Energy Superpower Fund

NSW Clean Energy Superpower Fund

Politicians know punters like solar power and the prospect of lower energy bills. NSW’s Perrottet Government has been tapping into this ahead of the state election.

On Saturday morning, the Perrottet Government pledged to set up  a $1.5 billion Clean Energy Superpower Fund, assuming it’s re-elected. This will be comprised of the previously announced $1.2bn Transmission Acceleration Fund and new cash to support the delivery of grid storage and security projects, including technologies such as pumped hydro and batteries.

Furthermore, another $23 million will be invested in an expansion of the Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap.

“The NSW Liberal and Nationals Government’s long term economic plan includes rolling out our Roadmap – the most ambitious renewable energy policy in the nation – which is expected to attract $32 billion in private investment and support more than 9000 jobs by 2030,” Premier Perrottet said.

The additional $23 million will be used towards removing local network constraints; allowing more solar to be installed in areas with bottlenecks and more energy to be exported by existing systems.

Commenting on this aspect, NSW Treasurer and Minister for Energy Matt Kean said:

“Rooftop solar is a no-brainer to save money on energy bills but we know that tens of thousands of families can’t get the full benefit of their system because of network constraints which limit the amount of energy they can export to the grid.”

There wasn’t any detail provided as to how this would  be achieved (or much detail on the Clean Energy Superpower Fund for that matter), but community batteries did get a mention in the announcement. Community batteries can help sop up surplus solar energy goodness during the day, alleviating the strain on local networks during peak generation periods. There are already a bunch of community batteries to be rolled out in NSW and across Australia under an Albanese Government election commitment.

Putting cash into upgrading local networks in other ways might also come into play, but another approach to lifting limits on solar energy exports is through implementation of flexible exports. Instead of having a fixed limit applying across the board and at all times to cover brief periods where too much solar could go into the grid and threaten local network stability, limits can be set according to local conditions; and change according to those conditions.

Across the border in South Australia, SAPN has been tinkering with flexible/dynamic exports for some time, and its program will be expanded state-wide by July next year. Maybe there will be a greater push by the NSW Government for flexible/dynamic exports to be rolled out, and support for Distributed Network Service Providers to do so.

Energy Bill Saver Dangled

The Clean Energy Superpower Fund and new cash for local electricity network improvements isn’t the only carrot being dangled in front of NSW voters.

Earlier this month, Premier Perrottet also committed to help ease gas and power bill pain if the NSW Liberal Party and Nationals are re-elected through the NSW Energy Bill Saver program. This will give households a $250 cash sugar hit to go towards their energy expenses.

Getting Gas Out Of NSW Homes

On a related note, also very recently announced was a new $8 million program looking into the best ways to save NSW households money on their energy bills by installing zero emissions technologies and appliances that can use them. In other words, installing solar (and batteries) and kicking out gas.

The Smart Energy Council welcomed the announcement.

“Matt Kean has fired the starting gun for home electrification in New South Wales,” said CEO John Grimes. “The Smart Energy Council knows New South Wales families are itching to ditch gas and go electric and these trials will be a big help.”

The pilot program will launch in the second half of this year and be voluntary for households in the yet-to-be-named selected communities – one will be in an urban area, another in a regional area and the other in a remote area.

The Perrottet Government is very aware what a hot-button topic energy costs are at the moment, and it’s attempting to send a clear message it is here to help1.

“Only a re-elected Liberal and Nationals Government can be trusted to lower energy bills and manage the state’s economy,” said the very confident Premier.

But in the last 24 hours NSW Labor have also put in a major showing on the renewable energy pledge front.

On Sunday, Labor leader Chris Minns promised to allocate $1 billion to what will be a new state-run energy body – the Energy Security Corporation (ESC)  – if it is elected, which will drive investment into renewables.

NSW voters go to the polls on Saturday, 25 March 2023. We’ll have a roundup of who is promising what on the energy front closer to election day.

Footnotes

  1. Sorry Kevin.
About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

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