The state government is looking to transition away from deteriorating coal infrastructure and instead overhaul the electricity network with green energy.
In the upcoming NSW budget, the government will invest $1.2 billion to fast track critical energy infrastructure.
The plan has two phases, with the first setting up five renewable energy zones across the state and inviting private companies to build solar, wind and hydro plants to replace retiring coal stations.
The second phase was today’s announcement to link the new zones to the grid with a major upgrade of poles and wires.
A shortage of transmission lines means only one in 20 new energy projects can connect to the grid so the power being generated isn’t used.
The government hopes eventually it will increase supply and help drive down prices.
“Renewable energy zones are modern day power stations, providing cheap and clean power for the homes and business of NSW,” Treasurer Matt Kean said.
“This is the state’s largest-ever investment in infrastructure for renewable energy and is expected to help create 2700 direct construction jobs across the state.
“Energy prices are up because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and unplanned outages at coal-fired power stations.
“Fast-tracking the construction of renewable energy is the best way to reduce our exposure to these risks and take advantage of cleaner, cheaper power sources.”
It comes at the right time as an ageing coal-fired power plant in the Upper Hunter which powers two million homes suffered a major outage today.
AGL’s Bayswater Coal plant was operating at just a quarter of its capacity with breakdowns in three units, only adding fuel to the fire of the nation’s energy shortage.