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The Hunter being included in the Renewable Energy Zones one step closer

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The Hunter Valley is one step away from being a Renewable Energy Zone after a last-minute change to the state government's energy Roadmap unveiled last week.

Upper Hunter MP Michael Johnsen proposed the amendment after the region was initially left out of the plan - the bill has passed the lower hours and now needs to be passed by the Upper House to become law.

The original zones are in the central west around Dubbo, the Riverina and New England and are areas that will be attracting $32 billion in new investment in renewable technologies according to the government.

The Roadmap lays out the Government’s 20 year plan to deliver Renewable Energy Zones, energy storage such as pumped hydro, and on demand supply like gas and batteries, needed to reduce emissions and provide cheap, reliable electricity across the State.

Deputy Premier John Barilaro said the Roadmap will deliver Australia’s first Renewable Energy Zones in the Central West and New England regions by 2030.

“The stimulus the Renewable Energy Zones will provide to regional communities will unlock over 9,000 new jobs and will be a huge boost to farmers and land owners, with $1.5 billion in lease payments expected to go to landholders hosting new infrastructure by 2042,” John Barilaro said.

“The Roadmap will make sure that renewables are developed where regional communities want them and where they are compatible with farming.”

The Upper Hunter is home to a number of proposed renewable energy projects already including the $1.2 billion Liverpool Range windfarm of 1000 megawatts, a 500 megawatt lithium-ion battery array set to be operational by 2021-22 at Liddell, a pumped hydro project at BELLS MOUNTAIN and a myriad of other solar and wind projects.

It's likely the bill will be debated in the Upper House before the week is out. 

Image credit: Grant Broadcasters/Jessica Rouse