NSW Labor pledges $1bn state-owned investment company for renewable projects if elected

‘Privatisation does not work. It has been a disaster for New South Wales and under Labor it stops,’ leader Chris Minns says

A New South Wales Labor government would create a $1bn state-owned energy security company to drive investment in renewable energy projects and lower prices in the state, the party’s leader, Chris Minns, has said.

On Sunday, Labor will pledge to establish a NSW “energy security corporation”, an investment vehicle for renewable energy projects in the state, should the party win the 24 March state election.

The promise comes a day after the Coalition announced a “clean energy superpower fund”, which includes money already announced to upgrade the transmission network and energy storage, plus $23 million for new rooftop solar and small-scale batteries.

Labor’s NSW ESC will be funded initially via $1bn from the existing Restart NSW fund, and will partner with industry on projects including renewable storage such as pumped hydro, commercially-viable technologies to provide grid stability, and community batteries.

It will operate similarly to the federal government’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC).

NSW Labor has said industry had sought government certainty in helping meeting the 2030 targets set under the Coalition government’s $32bn Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap to have five renewable energy zones up and running by 2030, with 2GW of storage.

“We want the state to be able to invest in solutions that ensure reliability in the system and keep the lights on and create new jobs for the state,” Minns said in a statement.

“Privatisation does not work. It has been a disaster for New South Wales and under Labor it stops.

“This is not a Band-Aid solution. Whilst it will take time for the benefits to be realised, this is a serious, long-term step towards fixing the mess left by the Liberal-National government.”

The ESC will be different from the re-establishment of the Victorian State Electricity Commission (SEC) announced by premier Daniel Andrews prior to the Victorian state election in November last year. The SEC will own its renewable energy assets, while the role of the ESC will be to provide finance and in some cases partner with the private sector on projects.

The Clean Energy Council said New South Wales Labor’s announcement is striking the right balance.

“We would expect that by targeting areas of reliability, affordability and medium- to long-term storage, the public-sector contributions by the NSW Energy Security Corporation will help lower power prices, create jobs, keep the lights on and reduce our emissions,’ CEO Kane Thornton said.

“We are in a global clean energy arms race. The world has changed markedly in just six months, global competition for green finance, equipment and human capital is intensifying, and we will need to boldly assert ourselves to secure a share of this massive green growth opportunity.”

On Saturday, the NSW premier, Dominic Perrottet, announced the establishment of a $1.5bn clean energy superpower fund, and an additional $23m in investments under the roadmap for rooftop solar and small-scale batteries.

The NSW treasurer and energy minister, Matt Kean, said investment in rooftop solar and batteries are a “no-brainer” to drive down energy bills, and will make it easier for homes to export energy to the grid.

“The clean energy superpower fund will bust through these constraints, helping to roll out the storage and network infrastructure that the grid needs to unlock the renewable energy of the future.”


Josh Taylor

The GuardianTramp

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