The New South Wales government has unveiled further relaxations to laws governing renewable energy development, paving the way for the installation of larger residential and commercial rooftop solar systems across the state.
The new amendments to the State Environmental Planning Policy (Infrastructure) 2007, announced on Friday, will also allow utility providers to build electricity storage as part of improvement works to transmission and distribution networks.
The changes follow an amendment published earlier this week to allow for stand-alone battery storage systems, a move that it expected to pave the way for multiple big batteries that no longer have to be co-located with a wind or solar farm, or other generator.
The key beneficiaries of the latest amendments, however, will be households and business, with the changes allowing larger-scale solar systems to be installed on homes and commercial buildings without council approval.
While NSW has lagged behind other states in some areas on the large-scale renewables and storage front, it has been ahead of the pack on rooftop solar, enjoying a record-breaking streak in growth at the end of 2019.
The government’s new changes – including the allowance for utilities to add storage to bolster transmission and distribution networks – seem designed to take the state’s distributed renewables uptake to the next level, which also keeping the grid working efficiently and reliably.
Energy Minister Matt Kean said the changes were great news for both customers and the industry, and would help support new energy generation projects funded through the Berejiklian government’s $75 million Emerging Energy Program.
“NSW residents are embracing renewable energy with about 490,000 homes and small businesses saving money on their energy bills by installing small-scale solar, and these amendments will support this trend to continue,” Kean said.
“Over the past five years, wind and solar electricity generation has almost tripled. These planning changes are an important next step to help innovative electricity projects like big batteries, higher capacity solar and wind come online sooner and lower energy bills.”
Planning minister Rob Stokes said the latest change was a further example of the government’s commitment to provide an affordable, reliable and sustainable energy network, and support the roll-out of cost-effective, low-emission technologies.
“Our planning system plays a key role in enabling investment in innovative renewable energy projects right across the state,” Stokes said.
“These changes ensure planning requirements are aligned with advances in technology, and enable emerging energy projects to progress through the planning system more efficiently.”
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