NSW community to decide on joining new power generation
An inland NSW regional community is set to begin talks on whether locals want their area to become a renewable energy zone.
The New England region, taking in the north west slopes, the northern tablelands and the regional centres of Armidale, Tenterfield and Tamworth, could be one of the state's five renewable energy zones (REZ).
The proposed zone in New England will be just 1km wide, likely housing solar and wind farms as well as battery storage.
Establishing the site is key to NSW plans to transform its system and community input is being encouraged, Energy Minister Penny Sharpe said on Wednesday.
"We need to make sure that the community understands and has input into its development," Ms Sharpe said.
"I encourage the New England community to have their say and raise any concerns as this project develops. Community input is essential to the success of this project."
"The New England REZ will be critical to unlocking the new affordable and clean energy supply we need to securing a modern energy system for the state."
The five zones are key to the government's plan to transition the state from fossil fuels to renewable energy, minimising the amount of new poles, wires and transmission lines needed from renewable infrastructure.
New England was chosen as it has some of the best renewable energy sources in the country and shows great potential for developing energy storage projects, the government said.
The area was chosen after extensive planning processes, detailed technical studies, site visits and community and stakeholder feedback, dating back two years.
Becoming a renewable energy zone could provide the New England area with up to $10.7b in private sector investment and 2000 construction and operation jobs.