Friday, April 26, 2024

Armidale council sets sights on renewable energy goal

The New England Region has set its sights on becoming one of the largest generators of renewable energy in Australia over the next decade with the development of the New England Renewable Energy Zone (REZ).

Council has established a Renewable Energy Policy to shape and optimise development outcomes and the community’s desire for the region to lead a zero emissions future.

Armidale Regional Council and surrounding Local Government Areas are key stakeholders in the development of the New England REZ, with more than $13 billion to be invested across the region.

As the region positions itself as a leader in the renewable energy sector, as a consequence of a proposal which emanated from a Mayoral Minute early in 2021, Council identified the urgency to develop a policy that provides guidelines for implementation of the REZ and drive responsible development and operation of investments.

Armidale Regional Council Mayor, Ian Tiley said the Policy will enable Council to be at the forefront of decision making, from the earliest design concepts through to long-term operation and management of projects.

“Council recognises its role as a facilitator and seeks to develop a reputation for expertise and leadership in renewable energy through cleverly and effectively engaging in all aspects of the energy division.”

“We welcome investment, encourage best practice and commit to performing our roles to the highest standard,” said Mayor Tiley.

A number of projects are already in the design, planning or construction phase, prompting Council to develop a policy that provides much-needed guidelines for implementation of the New England REZ, and guide responsible development and operation of these investments and set up community benefit sharing arrangements.

“The Renewable Energy Policy will provide a framework for the benefit of current and future generations of residents and businesses across the Local Government Area, and provide a foundation for responsible implementation of the New England REZ within the Armidale Region,” said Mayor Tiley.

“Establishing a policy will provide a Council-endorsed statement of intent for stakeholders and sets standards for negotiating community benefit sharing schemes, voluntary planning agreements, power purchasing agreements, regional renewable energy distribution system, shared equity and other commercial arrangements that benefit’s our current and future generations.”

The Renewable Energy Policy has been designed to align with Community Strategic Plan goals and the 2018-22 Delivery Program via an Integrated Planning and Reporting Framework. The Policy will also assist in the delivery of Armidale Regional Council’s 2021-22 Draft Operational Plan and contribute towards the fulfilment of Council’s Zero30 and EcoARC 2020 commitments.

The Renewable Energy Policy is now on public exhibition for community feedback from Friday 24 September for a period of 28 days.

“We want the community to review the policy and submit feedback. This will give Council further insight that we are meeting the needs of the community while encouraging significant investment in the region,” said Mayor Tiley.

To review the policy on public exhibition go to Council’s Your Say website yoursay.armidale.nsw.gov.au.

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