$128 million downpayment for communities in Central-West Orana REZ
Minister for Energy Penny Sharpe has today announced communities in the Central-West Orana Renewable Energy Zone will receive $128 million over the next four years to deliver community projects and employment opportunities.
The funding is the first downpayment to bring forward community and employment benefits, to ensure benefits flow before construction of new transmission and renewable generation projects commences in late 2024.
Statewide, hundreds of millions of dollars of funding will become available over the next 30 years, leaving a lasting legacy for the communities hosting renewable energy projects in their area.
In the next six months the NSW Government will work closely with local councils, community and First Nations organisations, renewable energy companies and other stakeholders to identify and fund community priorities and long-term legacy programs in the region.
The types of projects that could be funded include:
- public infrastructure upgrades
- housing and accommodation
- training and employment programs
- health and education programs
- support for energy efficiency and local rooftop solar, and
- initiatives for First Nations people.
The Community and Employment benefit fund will be administered by NSW EnergyCo. Upfront funding will come from the Transmission Acceleration Fund, and after 2028 will be funded through access fees paid by renewable energy generators connecting to new transmission lines in the Central-West Orana REZ.
Over time, this program will be expanded to the other four REZs in NSW; New England, South West, Hunter-Central Coast and Illawarra.
The Central-West Orana REZ will become the renewable energy power plant of the future, delivering clean, affordable energy to NSW. The REZ is part of the NSW Government’s Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap to deliver 12GW of renewable energy generation and 2GW of storage.
Minister for Energy Penny Sharpe said:
“The transformation of our electricity system is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to foster long-term prosperity in our regional communities which are central to the Roadmap.
“This funding will ensure the communities hosting the Central-West Orana REZ start receiving benefits well before construction begins.
“The NSW Government will work with local communities and councils to ensure they have a say about how funding is allocated, so projects reflect community priorities.”