An exciting new report reveals long-term jobs and affordable energy are available to Narrabri from renewable energy.
'Renewable Narrabri: Solar and wind versus gas in North West NSW' shows that Narrabri has enormous potential to build local opportunity as part of a renewable energy future.
The report shows that renewable energy can create more jobs than CSG, without any of the risks to groundwater, natural areas or farmland, and without creating vast quantities of toxic waste.
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Narrabri Shire is part of the New England Renewable Energy Precinct, set up by the NSW Government in 2010 to attract new investment. Two current solar energy projects are proposed.
To produce Renewable Narrabri, the Institute for Sustainable Futures undertook modelling of the renewable energy potential of Narrabri Shire, producing two scenarios of renewable energy development in the region. In both scenarios, the Narrabri Shire plays an important part in New South Wales’ energy transformation.
The region could produce significantly more electricity than is required locally, resulting in more and longer lasting jobs for the Shire than the Narrabri gas field would generate, and affecting a much smaller area of land.
What did the report find?
The report modelled two different scenarios – an Advanced Renewables Export Scenario and a Renewables Export Scenario.
Advance Renewables Scenario
This scenario models the role that Narrabri could play if there was a rapid transformation of Australia to a wholly renewable energy system by 2030. This would mean $6.5 billion of investment to:
- install 3,800 MW of solar photovoltaic electricity and 600 MW of wind power capacity, exporting most of the capacity to the national energy grid
- Use 17% of the land area required for the proposed Narrabri gasfield
- Create 3,600 jobs during the construction and installation period 2,840 ongoing maintenance and operation jobs by 2030
- All ongoing jobs would be local to Narrabri because fly-in/fly-out workforce is not feasible
- New opportunities in vocational education and skills development will be needed, as would upgrades to energy transmission systems, which were beyond the scope of this report.
Renewables Export scenario
The second scenario is more modest and is highly achievable given current NSW policies relating to renewable energy. This scenario would involve $1 billion investment to:
- install 622 MW of solar photovoltaic electricity and 175 MW of wind power capacity
- Allow for surplus energy to be export to the national electricity market
- Use just 4% of the land area required for the proposed Narrabri gasfield
Create 500 permanent local jobs in operation and maintenance by 2030. These would all be local jobs because a fly-in/fly-out workforce is not feasible. The jobs created will last well beyond the end date for the Narrabri gasfield.
For the methodology and all other details, download a two page summary of the report here.