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Submission to NSW Draft Energy Policy Framework & Guidelines

In December 2023, NSW released a revised energy policy framework and updated planning guidelines for wind farms, solar farms, benefit sharing and transmission projects. 

RE-Alliance strongly supports the accelerated build-out of renewable energy technologies, from large-scale renewables and storage to precinct, farms and rooftop energy, storage, electrification and transmission. This build-out must also include and enable community input and direct benefit sharing, and deliver strategic improvements in host communities.

The NSW Government’s targets on climate action and renewable energy should lead the new energy policy framework, and accelerate planning to ensure energy supply reliability and affordability as ageing coal generation exits the market. 

Our on-the-ground engagement with community and civil society stakeholders across NSW in the Central-West Orana, New England and South West Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) regions suggests there are a number of areas where the Government can go further.

The NSW Government can improve the framework and the guidelines to ensure better outcomes for engagement, accelerated planning and overall strategic benefits with host communities. They can, for example:

  • Recognise and specifically call out the urgency of new renewable generation for NSW’s ongoing supply reliability, affordability, climate targets and industry growth
  • Recognise and specifically call out that renewable energy projects proposed in Renewable Energy Zones are a desired development activity
  • Clarify specific actions by the NSW Government-side to accelerate timelines for projects designated as state significant development (SSD) and critical state significant infrastructure (CSSI). Where appropriate, align these to the NSW targets for generation and transmission 
  • Recognise and reflect the role for community engagement and participation in planning guideline references for community and local engagement on project development, decision-making and benefit sharing
  • Consider the potential for the NSW Government to lead combined facilitation to solve key cumulative impact issues
  • Modify the policy principles language in the Benefit Sharing Guideline so that it reflects community inclusion
  • Ensure ongoing, transparent, plain-English reporting by the appropriate agency on benefit sharing commitments, allocations, delivered outcomes and cumulative benefits over time
  • Extend the NSW Strategic Benefits Payments Scheme to near neighbours of transmission landholders
  • Develop and publicly consult on a Benefit Sharing Guideline for transmission.

Read our full submission here.

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