Australia’s largest state, New South Wales (NSW), is set to achieve complete reliance on renewable energy within ten years, thanks to a groundbreaking infrastructure investment plan worth A$16.5 billion ($11.20 billion) recently announced by Transgrid, a major grid operator.
In its strategic initiative, Transgrid, which was privatized in 2015, will allocate funds towards the development of energy storage solutions, including batteries, and the construction of 2,500 kilometers (1,553.4 miles) of additional transmission lines.
These measures will facilitate the secure operation of the grid while accommodating up to 100% instantaneous renewable energy supply. The designated area for this expansion surpasses the size of Texas, covering NSW and the Australian Capital Territory.
Transgrid’s Chief Executive, Brett Redman, emphasized the importance of transmission in enabling a successful transition to renewable energy. He stated, “There will be no transition without transmission.”
Redman also underscored the urgency of accelerating investments across all energy transition aspects, given that over 80% of coal-fired capacity in NSW is anticipated to retire, while 28 gigawatts of new renewable and storage capacity are scheduled to come online in the next decade.
The comprehensive plan unveiled on Wednesday highlights the substantial investment required to achieve the Labor government’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions by 43% from 2005 levels by 2030. It also demonstrates that a significant portion of the expenditure will be dedicated to more than just wind, solar, and hydro projects.
Over the next ten years, a remarkable 80% of the present coal-fired capacity, concentrated in around twenty large plants, will be phased out, necessitating the integration of an extensive network of alternative energy sources.
This transition will involve the establishment of numerous wind and solar projects, as well as the installation of tens of millions of rooftop solar panels throughout Australia, the world’s sixth-largest country.
Out of the total investment, approximately A$14 billion will be allocated to constructing transmission lines that will connect new clean energy ventures to consumers.
An additional A$2.2 billion will be dedicated to energy storage solutions, ensuring grid stability during the closure of coal plants, with a particular focus on deploying 10 gigawatts of battery capacity.
The remaining A$300 million will be utilized for hiring new personnel and implementing advanced technologies required to operate the upgraded grid effectively.
Transgrid’s spokesperson confirmed that the project’s funding will be a combination of private investment, government support, and user charges.
While progress has commenced on EnergyConnect, a 900-kilometer transmission line connecting grids across three states, the majority of the recently announced plan is yet to begin implementation.
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