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The states boost the energy and resources sector

This year will be remembered for the many challenges that it brought to both individuals and industry. As Australia starts to return to some normality, many states are looking to boost industry, increase jobs and innovate for the future. In this article, we look at various state initiatives designed to boost the energy and resources sector.

Victoria

One of the hardest hit regions of Australia, with lockdown restrictions now easing in Victoria activity is ramping up. Solar Victoria has advised that they’re now working through the backlog of approximately 15,000 approved installations which stalled during the extended lockdown period. 

Victoria will build one of the world’s largest lithium-ion batteries near Moorabool Terminal Station. The 300MW battery will cost $84 million and should be complete by the end of next year. The battery will ensure grid stability by providing an automatic response if there is an unexpected network outage. It is part of an effort to reduce electricity prices and will help the state achieve its objective of 50% renewable energy  by 2030. In addition, it is expected to generate over 80 jobs in the Geelong region. 

More minerals licence applications are also to be processed in Victoria, with $1.1 million allocated to additional staff to process them. There are currently more than 350 live applications for new minerals licences, renewals, transfers and variations. These licenses are anticipated for mining gold and other in-demand minerals, so that industry can continue its record-breaking level of mineral exploration. In the June quarter, Victoria recorded the highest quarterly mineral exploration spend in the state’s history.

New South Wales

The NSW government recently released its Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap. It sets out a plan to invest $32 billion in the sector, creating 12 GW of renewable energy capacity in the Central-West Orana, New England and South West Renewable Energy Zones. It also sets out plans for 3GW of new firm capacity by 2030. As a result, it is estimated to reduce the average household electricity bill by $130 a year, and $430 a year for businesses between 2023 and 2040. The industry also expects to support over 9,000 jobs in regional NSW and will deliver 90 million tonnes of reduced carbon emissions by 2030. 

While international travel is off the cards, NSW continues to look for investment and growth overseas. They recently announced that a stand-alone NSW Trade and Investment office would be opened in Tokyo to grow the state’s presence in Japan. This is the first of six international hubs that will focus on export and investment opportunities. Future hubs are expected to focus on opportunities in the UK, Europe, Israel, Greater China, the Americas, the Middle East and India.  

South Australia

The South Australian government launched its energy and mining strategy recently. This includes a range of initiatives focused on energy storage, hydrogen trade, carbon capture, utilisation and storage. The government’s goals are ambitious and include increasing energy exports by $13 billion by 2030, generating hydrogen exports of over $1.7billion, being internationally competitive by 2030 and achieving net 100% renewable generation by 2040. The strategy is expected to add up to 30,000 jobs to the South Australian economy. 

South Australia will also construct a 280MW solar farm near Whyalla and 100MW near Port Augusta. This $600million investment will create up to 810 jobs and improve the security and reliability of the grid. 

The South Australian government has also focused on energy efficiency announcing $60 million spend on government buildings and a further $18.3 million to transitioning government vehicles to electric transmission. An additional $18 million will increase the state’s home batter subsidy scheme to 440 megawatt hours of storage. This is expected to result in reduced electricity prices. 

Looking towards export opportunities, the state also announced $37 million to upgrade the Port Bonython jetty. This is expected to increase export opportunities for green hydrogen to key markets across Asia. 

Western Australia

Western Australia released its first Whole of System Plan, which looks at the 20 year outlook for the state’s electricity network. It reveals that renewable generation is expected to triple in 2040 and that rooftop solar will continue to displace traditional forms of generation. Battery storage will also increase in importance and play a role in stabilising the system and unlocking new markets.  

The Western Australia Planning Commission has also recently approved a $50 million LNG plant in Mount Magnet. The plant has been fast-tracked and is expected to be operational by mid-2021. It will create over 50 jobs during its construction and 30 ongoing jobs. 

The Pilbara will also see a transformation in the next decade, with the first stage of the Asian Renewable Energy Hub approved in the region. A large wind and solar project, it will produce up to 26 GW in the future, but construction isn’t expected to commence until 2026. 
 

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