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‘Never more critical’: Government pressed on low-carbon recovery study


The jobs range from construction related to the building of new transmission and storage for the power sector, investment in hydrogen technology, to stepping up energy efficiency in homes and businesses that would have lasting benefits.

“There is a lot NSW can do to future proof our economy by increasing access and supply of renewable energy both locally and for export,” he said.

The committee had planned to hold hearings into its energy inquiry by now in places such as the Hunter Valley, before the coronavirus-linked lockdowns delayed the events.

The recent collapse in export thermal coal prices – now trading at about half their levels of two years ago – has only added to the urgency of weaning the region off fossil fuels, Mr Greenwich said.

“What is going to happen to this region when these exports and dependency [on coal] drop off further?” he said. “This has to be an area of priority.”

Renewable energy jobs will help the regions. This solar array is at Glencore's copper mine near Cobar in the state's north-west.

Renewable energy jobs will help the regions. This solar array is at Glencore’s copper mine near Cobar in the state’s north-west.Credit:Dominic Lorrimer

Energy and Environment Minister Matt Kean, who has said he aims to accelerate the roll-out of renewable energy in NSW, said he would respond to the committee’s request “shortly”.

“I welcome the committee’s support for ensuring a strong and sustainable economic recovery from COVID-19 and their approach to seeking expert input on this matter,” Mr Kean said.

The committee members include Liberal MPs, Felicity Wilson, James Griffin and Nathaniel Smith, and Labor’s Anoulack Chanthivong.

Rooftop solar energy installations were almost 900 megawatts in the first four months of this year, with new systems in April more than 50 per cent higher than the same month in 2019, Green Energy Markets reported on Friday. The impact on business of the coronavirus, however, will likely show a big fall in solar demand in coming months.

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