What is the Central-West Orana Renewable Energy Zone?
A Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) is a hub of renewable energy projects including solar farms, wind farms and batteries across a region that together produce a large amount of electricity that can be transported to homes, schools and workplaces where it is needed via transmission lines.
The Central-West Orana Renewable Energy Zone is the first REZ planned for New South Wales. The region includes:
- Elong Elong,
- Narromine and
It is expected to power 1.4 million homes when complete. The renewable energy produced in the region will bring down power bills and help us meet climate targets.
The REZ will be managed by the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment. More information about the REZ can be found on the Department website.
The Central-West Orana REZ will bring lots of opportunities to the region.
The Department estimates the REZ will bring $5.2 Billion of private investment into our region and create 3.9 thousand construction jobs at its peak.
As one of the faster developing REZs, there are many looking to the region as a leader and early adopter, including governments, renewable energy developers and other regional communities across Australia.
Renewable projects create economic activity in the form of direct jobs in construction and operation as well as indirect jobs and local business activity. They also support farmers hosting wind turbines or solar arrays on their land through lease payments, which can become a welcome way for farmers to secure a steady income stream to support their business.
However, there are many other ways that renewable energy investment can result in value for landholders, project neighbours and the region.
Making sure renewables benefit our community.
During the next couple of years while the REZ is in planning, we have a unique window of opportunity to negotiate for the best possible outcomes for our region. This could look like funding for local community projects, energy sharing agreements to secure cheap local power, community ownership arrangements, as well as local training and procurement opportunities.
These types of benefits that exist outside the realm of normal business activity or government contributions are collectively called community benefit-sharing arrangements.
It's up to us in the community to advocate for the best possible benefit-sharing arrangements & ensure the renewables boom delivers big for our community
You can read more about the different kinds of community benefits from renewables that we are already seeing around Australia in our Community Benefits Handbook.
Join the Community Network
The Central-West Orana Community Network works to address local impacts, identify community priorities, and deliver lasting benefits by being a strong community voice to industry and government.
We've got a series of workshops scheduled for early 2022.
Interested? Find out more about the Community Network and join up here.
If you live in the region, sign up below to stay in the loop about our work.