12 September 2012 — The draft NSW Renewable Energy Action Plan, which aims to capture its share of a forecast $36 billion renewable energy industry, is open for public submissions until 26 October.

The draft plan says it will position the state to grow renewable energy to support the national 20 per cent target by target “at least cost to the energy customer and with maximum benefits in terms of investment”.

It aims are to:

  • Attract renewable energy investment and projects
  • Build community support for renewable energy
  • Attract and grow expertise in renewable energy technology
  • Contain costs for energy customers through increased energy efficiency.

“Our vision is for a secure, reliable, affordable and clean energy future for NSW. We are working towards an energy system that is less polluting and that attracts new jobs and investment to NSW at the lowest possible cost,” the plan says.

“Increasing renewable energy generation is a critical part of our energy solution. We also intend to counteract the increase in energy demand and cost through more efficient use of energy in homes and businesses. Energy efficiency has the potential to reduce consumers’ electricity bills and delay expenditure on new electricity infrastructure.

“By assisting businesses and households to realise annual energy savings of 16,000 gigawatt hours by 2020, electricity costs estimated at $2.8 billion will be avoided in 2020.

“This plan strengthens the links between renewable energy and energy efficiency policy. Energy efficiency allows us to offset the costs of diversifying our energy supply at the same time as increasing our energy productivity.”

See the draft NSW Renewable Energy Plan here

The plan says NSW has excellent renewable energy resources and the government will work to attract renewable energy investment and jobs to NSW.

“There will be significant investment in renewable energy in the decade to 2020 – estimated by Bloomberg at $36 billion across Australia. Bloomberg’s model shows that by 2018, solar technologies will begin to gain market share from wind energy as the cost of solar systems is greatly reduced.

“The forecast result is $18 billion invested in wind energy projects, $16 billion in both large and small-scale solar PV and $400 million in solar thermal technologies across Australia (Bloomberg New Energy Finance, 2011).

“The NSW Government will seek to attract a large proportion of this investment in renewable energy to NSW. Individual private sector investors will base their locational decisions not only on the energy resource and grid connection fundamentals in each state, but also on how open each jurisdiction is for business.”

The plan says 6000 new jobs will be created in regional NSW over 20 years through construction, installation, manufacture and operation of renewable energy technologies. The majority will be located in the NSW/ACT border region, the Central Tablelands, the Snowy Monaro region, the South Coast and the New England Tablelands (The Climate Institute, 2011).

Jobs will also be created in renewable energy research and development hubs with the new $40 million Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources at the University of Newcastle supporting 70 research staff when it is fully operational in May 2013. In addition, Sydney’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation will create 40 new jobs, the plan says.