Narrabri Renewables Report

Published: September 26, 2018

May 2018: Narrabri is the proposed location of a highly controversial coal seam gas proposal by Santos, but research reveals that in comparison to Santos’ gasfield, renewable energy could deliver more numerous and more lasting jobs.

This groundbreaking research was undertaken by the Institute for Sustainable Futures at the University of Technology Sydney.

For the methodology and all other details, download a two page summary here.

Read and download the full report here.

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 here.

Read and download the full report here.

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