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Solar stars as NSW passes halfway mark on Renewable Energy Action Plan

NSW’s success with big solar generation means it now sources more energy from solar than it does from the Snowy Hydro Scheme, according to progress report on the government’s Renewable Energy Action Plan.

Minister for Industry, Resources and Energy, Anthony Roberts, and Environment Minister Mark Speakman, released the NSW Renewable Energy Action Plan Annual Report 2015 on Thursday, revealing 12 of its 24 goals had been completed, and nine more progressed.

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This takes the government to more than half way through the plan, in only its second year of implementation.

Highlights of the report included support for 17 large-scale renewable energy projects, totalling a potential 4,500MW of new capacity and $6 billion of investment.

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The report also highlighted the $440 million of Solar Flagships projects that were progressed, including the Nyngan and Broken Hill Solar Plants, both of which are now generating electricity.

“Over the past year, three large-scale renewable energy projects, including Nyngan Solar Plant, came online, representing over $900 million of investment, 380MW of capacity and enough output to power 140,000 homes each year,” the report said.

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The report also pointed to the NSW government-sponsored Network Opportunity Mapping project, which it says will highlight opportunities for renewable energy to meet network constraints.

Resources minister, Anthony Roberts, said the progress of the action plan clearly showed NSW was open for business in the renewable energy sector.

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“Energy security and diversity is a priority for the NSW Government so we can provide a reliable, affordable and sustainable energy supply for the state,” Roberts said.

“Around 35 per cent of renewable energy companies in Australia have their headquarters in NSW.”

Roberts said the sector directly employed 4,900 people in the state and supported an estimated 14,800 jobs in 2014.

The state has a particularly impressive record on solar, with more than 320,000 NSW households and small businesses are now generating power from the sun.

Commercial-scale solar, particularly, has surged from 680 installations in 2010 to a total of 8,800 installations in July 2015.

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“The share of generation from solar, wind and bioenergy sources in NSW has more than doubled over the past four years since 2010,” said Minister Speakman.

Source: RenewEconomy

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