Policy, Projects, Renewables, Solar, Storage

Australia launches historic tender for renewable energy

Australian renewable projects

The Federal Government has announced Australia’s largest ever tender for renewable energy projects as part of its Reliable Renewables Plan, targeting 6 gigawatts (GW) of new variable renewable capacity for the National Electricity Market (NEM).

The first auction under the national Capacity Investment Scheme (CIS) will open for bids in late May. At least 2.2GW has been allocated specifically for New South Wales projects, enough to power over 1 million households.

An additional 300 megawatts (MW) will be exclusively dedicated to variable renewable projects in South Australia, subject to a final state agreement.

Federal Climate Change Minister Chris Bowen said the tender “is delivering the certainty the market needs to deliver the energy we need, when we need it” through “the cheapest, cleanest form of power – reliable renewable energy”.

The NSW allocation builds on a pilot tender held in 2023 for six battery storage projects in the state totalling over 1GW and creating 400 jobs. It replaces a previously scheduled Q2 2024 generation tender under NSW’s Renewable Energy Roadmap.

NSW Minister for Climate Change Penny Sharpe said it’s “a significant win for NSW electricity consumers” as the state aims to finalise a combined tender process with the CIS from November.

“NSW is leading the nation when it comes to delivering the energy transition,” Sharpe said. “We’re already about half-way to meeting our generation target, and a quarter of the way to meeting our storage target.”

NSW will proceed with a separate Q2 tender for long-duration storage and award processes for its renewable energy zones.

The federal and NSW governments continue working towards a Renewable Energy Transformation Agreement to coordinate policies.

The plan aims for 32GW of new energy infrastructure across Australia by 2030, transitioning to an 82 per cent renewable grid backed by gas, storage and transmission.

A Western Australian tender for 500MW of dispatchable renewable storage, powering 45,000 homes, will open mid-year after consultation.

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