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NSW’s ‘urgent’ electricity infrastructure bill includes 2GW of long-duration energy storage

The NSW government is contributing financial support to a 75MWh project in Western Sydney that will trial the use of Tesla’s Megapack battery storage systems to provide services that help keep the transmission network stable. Image: Tesla.

Policymakers for New South Wales (NSW) in Australia have been debating a bill to co-ordinate investment in the state’s electricity infrastructure that includes 2GW of long-duration energy storage and AU$50 million (US$36.71 million) support for green hydrogen over 10 years.’ sister site PV Tech reported on 9 November the publication of the Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap by the government led by state Premier Gladys Berejiklian of the New South Wales Liberal Party. The roadmap laid out plans to support the rollout of 12GW of renewable energy capacity and deliver massive renewable energy zone (REZ) sites.

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Now, the resulting Electricity Infrastructure Bill 2020, has been declared urgent last week and has been reported into the state’s Legislative Assembly today. It is now before the Legislative Council, which is the parliament’s upper house. Premier Berejiklian has said that it is “crucial” the bill is passed before the end of this year, according to local newspaper Sydney Morning Herald.

The bill, also given the longer title, “An Act to co-ordinate investment in new generation, storage and network infrastructure in New South Wales; and for other purposes,” has apparently been largely agreed on by government and opposition parties.

The wide-ranging bill looks to stimulate the local economy’s involvement in providing technologies and workers to the electricity sector and support private investment in the sector among its aims. The government also plans to set up a ministerial board for renewable energy including representatives of various industries as well as customers of electricity utilities.

However, it remains necessary to continue debate after Mark Latham, leader of populist political party One Nation introduced almost 250 proposed amendments, allegedly in a bid to “stymie the legislation,” according to Sydney Morning Herald writer Alexandra Smith.

While the state has already supported the development of large-scale energy storage using lithium-ion batteries and approved the development of some huge solar-plus-storage plants, the bill proposes investment safeguards for long-duration electricity storage infrastructure that can be dispatched for at least 8 hours, scheduled by the Australian Electricity Market Operator (AEMO) in the central dispatch process under National Electricity Rules.

The document, which is in its second version, also proposes investment safeguarding for renewable energy facilities with generation capacity of 30MW or more, and firming infrastructure scheduled by AEMO in the central dispatch process.

Regarding long-duration energy storage, the government’s objectives are to deploy 2GW capacity of infrastructure that meets the state’s reliability standard by 31 December 2029 alongside new generation facilities including 8GW in the planned New England REZ and 3GW in the planned Central-West Orana REZ and 1GW of additional generation capacity.

The bill also commits AU$50 million from the state’s Climate Change Fund to develop the green hydrogen sector in NSW between 2021 and 2030. This will include production of hydrogen using renewable energy as well as the supply use and export of green hydrogen. 

Read the full bill here

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