Energy diversification the winner as Renewable Energy Zone declared in Hunter-Central Coast
The NSW Government has declared the Hunter-Central Coast Renewable Energy Zone (REZ), marking the fourth REZ in NSW following the advancement of the Central-West Orana, New England and South-West zones.
The Hunter Central Coast REZ includes areas of the Upper Hunter, Muswellbrook, Singleton, Dungog, Cessnock, Maitland, Port Stephens, Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and the Central Coast.
Mike Young, Executive Director at the Energy Corporation of NSW (EnergyCo), said the newly declared REZ is a resource-rich region offering great renewable energy resources, with significant port and transport infrastructure, a skilled workforce and the capability to repurpose existing power stations and rehabilitated mining land.
“The Hunter-Central Coast REZ will ensure these regions play a key role in a renewable energy future, powering existing industries and supporting economic growth including emerging technology in green hydrogen, ammonia and metal production, offshore wind, electric vehicle fleet operators as well as electrification of industrial processes,” said Mr Young.
REZs are the equivalent of modern-day power stations, connecting multiple renewable energy projects and electricity storage to capitalise on economies of scale and deliver cheap, reliable, and clean electricity for homes and businesses in NSW.
There is strong commercial interest in developing renewable generation and storage projects in the Hunter and Central Coast region with almost 40 gigawatts and more than $100 billion of potential investment interest, including offshore wind.
The Hunter-Central Coast REZ will be vital in assisting existing industries to decarbonise and supporting the development of Hunter hydrogen hubs and clean manufacturing precincts by supplying the renewable energy required to power these industries.
As the Infrastructure Planner for the Hunter-Central Coast REZ, EnergyCo will work with network operators to deliver any required augmentations to transmission infrastructure to connect renewable generation and storage projects to the grid.
EnergyCo will also work with industry, local councils, local communities and other providers to coordinate the services and infrastructure needed to support the rollout of the REZ including road upgrades, workforce accommodation, jobs skills and training, and port capacity and infrastructure.
This Hunter-Central Coast REZ is a key part of the NSW Government’s Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap and will help deliver the transition committed to in the communique published by Energy Ministers on 8 December 2022.