NSW Government declares six renewable energy projects as Critical State Significant Infrastructure

These projects are aimed at ensuring a steady energy supply as coal-fired power sources are phased out, providing reliable power during peak-demand periods.

New England trans Energy Co
New England Transmission Project. Image: EnergyCo

The NSW Government has declared six renewable energy projects as Critical State Significant Infrastructure (CSSI) due to their importance for the state's energy security, economy, and environmental goals.

The CSSI projects include three transmission initiatives and three pumped hydro projects. The transmission projects will connect additional renewable energy generators to the National Energy Market, encouraging further investment in NSW. The pumped hydro projects will provide dependable energy generation and dispatchable power when solar or wind resources are not available.

The six projects are:

  1. New England Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) Transmission: This project will connect renewable energy generation and storage within the New England REZ to the existing electricity network.
  2. Victoria NSW Interconnector: This transmission infrastructure will link the HumeLink Project in NSW with the Western Victoria Transmission Network Project.
  3. Mount Piper to Wallerawang Transmission: This project will strengthen connections between renewable energy generation areas in the Central West Orana REZ and major electricity demand centres.
  4. Stratford Pumped Hydro and Solar: This facility will use existing mine voids and infrastructure from the Stratford Mining Complex, which is due for closure in 2024, to generate hydro and solar power.
  5. Muswellbrook Pumped Hydro: This project will use the mine void at the closed Muswellbrook Coal Mine as the lower reservoir, with an upper reservoir proposed at Bells Mountain.
  6. Lake Lyell Pumped Hydro: This project will utilise existing infrastructure from the Mount Piper Power Station, set for decommissioning in 2040, for hydro power generation.

Following the CSSI declaration, the Department of Planning, Housing and Infrastructure (DPHI) will provide Secretary’s Environmental Assessment Requirements to the proponents. This will allow them to prepare an Environment Impact Statement (EIS) for community feedback.

Since 2023, the Minns Government has approved 24 renewable energy projects with the combined capacity to power 1.5 million homes. Currently, up to 30 renewable energy projects are under assessment, potentially producing up to 12.1 GW of energy to power approximately 5.6 million homes. An additional 87 projects, including solar, wind, battery storage, and pumped hydro, are at various stages of planning.

“I have declared these six important projects as Critical State Significant Infrastructure as they are essential to the NSW economy, society and the environment,” Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Paul Scully stated.

“The substantive increase in renewable energy proposals signals trust from the wider industry in our Government’s capacity to move projects through the planning system.”

Each project will be subject to a comprehensive assessment process, including a period of public exhibition and an opportunity for community submissions.

To read more about any of the projects, click on words underlined in green.

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