Funding For Renewable Energy Projects In NSW Regional Communities

$85 million has been earmarked by the NSW State Government for clean energy programs in the state’s regional communities.

Announced yesterday by New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian, the projects will help reduce power bills in beneficiary communities and also pressure on the grid, which will assist in lowering future network costs.

$30 million has been allocated for communities to build their own local wind, solar power and energy storage facilities and will also support backup power in up to 70 communities. $55 million will go towards supporting the private sector in developing and accelerating clean energy technology such as pumped hydro.

“These projects will help regional communities make the most of their energy resources, while also helping to further boost NSW’s energy security, said Minister for Energy and Utilities Don Harwin.

“A Welcome First Step”

Solar Citizens said this was a positive development that will help communities take back control of their power bills and energy systems, but that New South Wales had a lot more work to do on renewables – solar power in particular.

“It’s great for the NSW Government to make this initial investment in clean energy but we’ve seen the Victorian Government put $1.2 billion on the table this week for rooftop solar and now’s the time for the Berejiklian Government to go further,” said Joseph Scales, Solar Citizens’ National Director.

More Energy Efficiency Funding

On Monday, $72 million in energy efficiency measures were also announced by Premier Berejiklian, building on the NSW Government’s Energy Affordability Package.

These include:

  • $24.5 million for energy efficiency upgrades to more than 20,000 rental homes occupied by low-income renters.
  • $35 million to help businesses acquire or upgrade equipment.
  • $12.5 million for local councils to upgrade 60,000 street lights to LED lighting.

Accelerate Solar Roll-Out

The NSW Government stated it will also be accelerating installation of solar panels on government buildings, including schools and hospitals. It has set a target to reach 25,000 megawatt hours of solar electricity generation a year from government buildings by 2021 and 55,000 megawatt hours annually by 2024.

While New South Wales has been seen as a laggard on renewables, in terms of large-scale projects there is significant activity in the state. According to the Clean Energy Australia Report 2018, 1,055 MW of large scale renewable projects were either under construction or starting in 2018, representing $2.214 billion in investment and generating 1,175 jobs.

New South Wales residents have also embraced renewables, with solar energy very popular in the state. Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator states at least 422,662 small-scale solar systems were installed across NSW as at June 30. The Australian PV Institute (APVI)  puts the percentage of NSW dwellings with solar power installed at 16.9%

Last year, renewables accounted for 7,331 GWh of electricity generation in New South Wales, approximately 11% of total generation (2nd lowest % among the states).

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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