A boom in wind and solar farms is just around the corner, according to a state government plan that aims to attract $32 billion in private sector investment into renewable energy sources.
"I think there's going to be a large amount of development in the Renewable Energy Zone (Central-West Orana REZ) over the next five to 10 years, hopefully sooner," said the national coordinator for community group the Australian Wind Alliance, Andrew Bray.
"That'll be a mix of construction of wind and solar, and potentially storage projects as well. It will be a real shot in the arm for the regional economy - going forward you'll see ongoing jobs operating and maintaining those projects."
The government claims more than 9,000 jobs and $32 billion of private investment is expected to roll into the regions under its Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap, released on Monday. Deputy premier John Barilaro said this will deliver Australia's first REZs in the Central West and New England 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," he said. And promised the roadmap "will make sure that renewables are developed where regional communities want them and where they are compatible with farming".
Mr Bray said the lease payments to farmers were important "because that money paid to farmers goes back into the local economy with machinery, fencing and other things that farmers need to spend money on, and so that's another local boost to the economy".
"Coming out of this crisis, not only are we stimulating the economy to create jobs now, we are looking toward the reforms NSW needs to secure our future," treasurer Dominic Perrottet said.
"The roadmap will help boost our energy security and deliver to NSW some of the cheapest prices in the OECD, cutting power bills for families."
Do you want more Mudgee and regional news? Receive our free newsletters delivered to your inbox, as well as breaking news alerts. Sign up below ...