Access schemes are a key part of the NSW Government’s plan to coordinate and encourage renewable energy and storage investment in Renewable Energy Zones (REZs). They are intended to enable efficient investment in generation, storage and transmission infrastructure in the long-term interest of consumers while delivering positive outcomes for local communities.
The Central-West Orana (CWO) REZ Access Scheme will be the first of its kind in the National Electricity Market.
The draft CWO REZ Access Scheme Declaration sets out how generation and storage projects can receive access rights to new network infrastructure within the CWO REZ and is the primary statutory instrument for the CWO REZ Access Scheme.
We thank the NSW Government for the opportunity to comment on the CWO REZ Access Rights and Scheme Design Positions Paper. View our full PDF submission here.
As our expertise is around social benefit to communities, our submission concentrates on the access fees for community and employment purposes and the designated payment amounts.
We hope that an explanation of how access fees are set will be made available to allow community members to assess the appropriateness of the levels of fees attributable to community and employment purposes.
We are supportive of the level of access fees exceeding current industry benefit sharing practice, as community groups have “indicated a strong preference for higher access fee contributions, to ensure the community and employment programs can be funded at levels above and beyond current project proponent contributions”.
These access fee contributions are a welcome measure to ensure communities benefit from renewables development. Communities are looking for clarity on what these benefits will entail.
The higher the quality of co-design in the development of benefit programs funded via the access fee, the further community funding will go to creating appropriate and meaningful benefits that meet community needs and aspirations.