Region on ‘cusp of clean energy investment and jobs boom’, says CEO

South East NSW could become one of four renewable energy “superpowers” across the state, according to the Nature Conservation Council.

A new report has found the region could contribute to replacing the state’s five coal-burning power stations with clean energy by 2030.

The Repowering our Regions report found if the region could potentially create and sustain up to 2,100 jobs a year, stimulate $4.5billion in investment, generate enough electricity to power 2million homes, avoid 9.2million tonnes of carbon pollution and help save households $410 a year.

Nature Conservation Council CEO Kate Smolski said the region is “on the cusp of a clean energy investment and jobs boom” and “renewable energy could become a new pillar of the region’s economy”.

“The region could also play a major part in reducing the state’s climate pollution, which is driving dangerous climate change,” she said.

Ms Smolski said enforceable targets set by the state government, the closure of coal-fired power stations and the creation of incentives for storage technologies like batteries and pumped hydro are needed in order to create the savings and jobs predicted in the report.

A public meeting hosted by grass-roots organisation Clean Energy for Eternity over the weekend will discuss the the potential for renewable energy on the Far South Coast.

Eden-Monaro MP Mike Kelly will open the meeting at the Bermagui Country Club on Sunday, December 10.

In October Dr Kelly said he was concerned about the federal government’s move to abandon the clean energy target, proposed by Chief Scientist Alan Finkel, and replace it with the National Energy Guarantee.

“Labor has been briefed and it is clear that the government has not done any modelling on their new energy plan,” he said.

“There is simply not enough information about the government’s plan to comment further.”

The government said the new guarantee builds on existing energy policy, “which involves the retailers offering consumers a better deal, stopping the networks gaming the system, delivering more gas for Australians before it's shipped offshore and the commencement of Snowy Hydro 2.0 to stabilise the system”.

Clean Energy for Eternity’s Jo Lewis said Sunday’s meeting will discuss the technical details of energy usage and generation, and also look at measuring and improving energy efficiency in homes.

“At the meeting there will be information on possible bulk buy options, with or without battery storage,” she said.

“Community owned energy options will be explored as will solutions for domestic or commercial premises that are not able to host solar panels.”

Clean Energy for Eternity’s Matthew Nott said affordable battery storage technology will be a “game changer” for the increase in renewable energy across the Far South Coast.

The organisation is also exploring the possibility of establishing a charging outlet for electric cars in the area.

“This would be a useful attraction for visitors and a boost for local business and tourist numbers, as it complements the natural values evident in the area’s national parks,” Ms Lewis said.