When do you anticipate the final version of the plan will be implemented, and how is it expected to drive investment in clean energy in New South Wales?
The decision on when the final plan is released will be made soon by the New South Wales Government. We want to get it out as quickly as possible after we’ve had a reasonable time to consider the feedback that came in. As a member of government, I am keen to start work on increasing renewables.
What are some of the key mechanisms the Government will introduce to drive investment in the state?
The main mechanism is the idea of establishing a Renewable Energy Advocate within the public service: a position that will work with investors and proponents to identify resources that the state has, and a number of actions relating to resource mapping, to network connections and planning processes – this will all be within the role of the Renewable Energy Advocate.
There are regulatory barriers that are specifically identified within the draft plan that we want to work to removing. We also understand that there are regulatory barriers that we don’t even know are regulatory barriers yet. Because we’re sometimes dealing with new technologies that have new applications, there will be new barriers that emerge. When they emerge, we want to have the capacity in government to not only identify them but also manage and resolve them. You really need someone in government to do that; that’s what the Renewable Energy Advocate is there to do.
Renewable energy straddles so many different areas in government; proponents may be dealing with a distribution business in relation to a network connection or the grid operator, a local council or a planning department. There are many bodies that a proponent could potentially go to; the idea of the Advocate is to help proponents wind their way through government and make the process as easy as possible to ensure New South Wales attracts as much investment as it can.
The Advocate would be one person working with a team of specialists within New South Wales Industry and Investment. We’re already looking at how the Advocate would be appointed, and a team established.
What sort of funding will the Government allocate to implement greater uptake of renewables in the state, if any?