After being somewhat out in the wilderness in relation to renewable energy, particularly solar power, the NSW government has been busy this week kick-starting investment into the development of alternative energy sources in the state and preparing to encourage the uptake of home solar power systems through financial incentives.
On Tuesday, the Rees Government announced $27 million for renewable energy projects in New South Wales as part of its Climate Change Fund Renewable Energy Development Program. The Government's money is expected to lead to around $200 million being invested in the sector according to NSW Deputy Premier and Minister for the Environment and Climate Change, Carmel Tebbutt.
Once completed, the projects being funded will create over 390,000 megawatt hours of clean electricity each year; enough to meet the power needs of 49,000 homes. The projects will also reduce summer peak demand on coal-fired power plants by 11,400 kW and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 400,000 tonnes annually.
The beneficiary projects include $10 million for the development of the first commercial geothermal energy project in the Hunter Valley in NSW, $1.4 million to develop new battery storage technology for wind-generated energy at the Hampton Wind Farm, $9.25 million to expand the Liddell Power Station
solar thermal plant with three additional mirror arrays, $750,000 to establish two small scale urban wind farms in the state and $500,000 to create Australia’s first retail solar thermal air conditioning system for Charlestown Square shopping centre.
The release of the grants follows an announcement made on Monday by the New South Wales government to introduce a feed in tariff scheme next year that will pay householders generating electricity from solar power systems for the energy they produce.