The New South Wales (NSW) government in Australia has granted planning approval for the Central-West Orana renewable energy zone (REZ) transmission project.

The approval paves the way for the construction of transmission lines and energy hubs to connect large-scale renewable energy sources to the electricity grid.

The project will attract A$20bn ($13.3bn) in private investment across solar, wind and energy storage projects.

During its peak construction phases, the project will create 5,000 jobs.

As a critical component of the NSW Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap, the Central-West Orana REZ will supply clean energy to households and businesses throughout the state.

It will transmit 4.5GW of electricity, sufficient to power 1.8 million homes.

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The approved transmission lines will facilitate the construction and operation of roughly 240km of lines and accompanying infrastructure within the Central-West Orana REZ.

To advance with planning approval, the NSW government imposed almost 100 conditions to support the transmission project’s rollout.

Covering 20,000km², the Central-West Orana REZ encompasses cities and towns such as Dubbo, Dunedoo and Mudgee.

The project will achieve financial closure in the latter half of 2024, with construction scheduled to begin towards the end of the year. Initial project operations are projected to commence in 2028.

NSW Minister for Climate Change and Energy Penny Sharpe stated: “This is the first REZ transmission project in the country to obtain planning approval, paving the way for a significant boost in renewable energy generation to replace aging coal-fired power stations.

“It’s not just about clean energy. This project will bring long-term financial benefits to both NSW electricity consumers and the local communities that will host the Central-West Orana REZ.

“The Minns Labor government will continue to work closely with communities, the Australian government and the preferred network operator to finalise the project.”