Business Association welcomes electricity roadmap

The plan will see 60 wind and solar farms built in NSW over the next 10 years

Business NSW Central Coast has welcomed the State Government’s recent Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap, saying the new policy is a serious attempt to respond to the changing nature of the electricity market.

The Government will incentivise the replacement of all coal-fired power stations with renewable energy by 2042, in a move designed to provide investors with certainty and keep electricity prices low.

“Businesses which have been concerned about future energy prices and supply security will be pleased to see new generation investment being brought forward,” Regional Director Paula Martin said.

“Of great significance will be the impact it has on regional NSW, where the bulk of the new investment and new jobs will be located.

“If the proposals deliver on promises to lower energy bills for business users, they will be a significant achievement for our large manufacturers on the Central Coast.

“The Central Coast is home to Australia’s largest food brands who supply the nation with food products we all love and use.

“Reductions in energy costs will help them to meet new increased consumer demand through COVID-19, in turn hiring more locals as they increase their production shifts.

“Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the major concerns for business owners as reported in our regular Business Conditions Survey were the rising costs of energy prices, as well as the reliability of supply.

“The effectiveness of the proposals will depend on the role and decisions of the Consumer Trustee – an agency to be determined who will set the rules for procurement and who will be charged with finding the right balance of cost, reliability and sustainability.

The policy has also attracted praise from the Nature Conservation Council (NCC) and Farmers for Climate Action.

NCC Chief Executive Chris Gambian said the plan represents serious action on climate change in a way that will also create jobs and bring down power prices.

“The NSW Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap announced today will accelerate the construction of transmission lines to regional NSW and support the development of new solar, wind and pumped-hydro projects,” he said.

“It will ensure about 60 wind and solar farms are built over the next 10 years, create 9,000 jobs, stimulate $32B in private investment, and prevent the emission of 90 million tonnes [of carbon].”

Farmers for Climate Action Chair, Charlie Prell, said the roadmap will create a more resilient, productive, and prosperous agriculture sector.

“This is fantastic news for farmers and regional communities,” he said.

“Large-scale renewables have already helped drought proof hundreds of farmers by providing a reliable, off-farm income stream, while also reducing emissions.

“Hosting wind turbines on my own farm has given me and my family a life-line as we battle the droughts and floods that are being exacerbated by climate change.”

Terry Collins