A new electricity strategy unveiled by the NSW Government will help remove the barriers to new clean energy investment and unlock the state’s enormous renewable energy potential, the Clean Energy Council said. Clean Energy Council chief executive Kane Thornton said plans to support the rollout of renewable energy zones (REZs) were particularly exciting and would help to address the urgent need for new generation capacity to secure the state’s future energy supply.

“NSW has rightly identified the need to accelerate investment in renewable energy and energy storage. Currently NSW is the most heavily coal-dependent state in the country, and with four of its coal-fired power stations due to close in the next 15 years it’s critical to start planning for the future,” Thornton said.

“It is great to see a government show leadership by progressing Australia’s first coordinated REZ. The pilot REZ and dedicated REZ body are great initiatives and will play a key role in improving reliability and delivering affordable energy to replace the state’s existing coal generators as they retire.”

With CEC analysis revealing a 60% reduction in clean energy investment over the past 12 months, Thornton said the commitment would be welcomed by investors. The CEC also welcomes plans to improve the regulatory framework to support new generation, expand the current Energy Savings Scheme to a broader Energy Security Safeguard and a further round of grants for the Emerging Energy Program.

“We look forward to working with the NSW Government to help design and deliver these initiatives,” Thornton said.