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NSW South West Renewable Energy Zone

Last Friday, the NSW government released their draft declaration for the South West Renewable Energy Zone (SW REZ) access scheme to the public. This is one of five REZs which have been identified within NSW as part of the NSW governments Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap. The schemes are overseeing the volume of projects which will be granted to the transmission within these zones and co-ordinate the network and generation investments into the areas.

The SW zone is based towards the Victorian border and the proposed connection point would be in the Dinawan Substation. The access standards are very similar to those already proposed in April for the states Central-West Orana (CWO) region.

With the CWO attracting more than $35billion worth of proposed projects the SW REZ is hoping to attract significant investment for its 2.5GW transfer capacity, noting the location will not allow for offshore wind and as much Hydrogen investment as that seen in the CWO.

The NSW government has stated that the aim of the declaration is that “An access scheme provides an opportunity to control the connection of projects to the REZ. In the case of the South West, the proposed access scheme triggers the application of modifications to the National Electricity Rules (NER) open access arrangements as they apply to the access right network.”

The access granted projects will benefit from significant network upgrades including potential upgrades to the Project Energy Connect (PEC) interconnector which is being developed at the moment and is to run between SA (Robertstown) and NSW (Wagga Wagga), upgrades to the HumeLink which would connect that Wagga Wagga substation with Snowy Hydro and its increasing capacity and further strengthen the investment case for the proposed Victoria-NSW interconnector (VNI West). The latter is currently within the RIT-T (Regulatory Investment Test for Transmission) process.

These proposals will surely give investors’ confidence in providing the required project certification to be granted the access to that zone. They must not only show feasibility and prepare to sign onto the standards set out in this proposition, but must ensure they can manage voltage, frequency especially which there are potential disruptions within the system. However, the rewards of participating in a well-funded, transmission rich environment which has certainty of curtailment risk for the access rights holders, are surely going to outweigh the paper-work process of being accepted and given the over subscription of the CWO, you can imagine a similar uptake in this round.

The consultation for the South West Renewable Energy Zone (SW REZ) access scheme is closing on the 15th May 2023.