Renewables and Rural Australia

The report, Renewables & Rural Australia: A study of community experiences in Renewable Energy Zones in NSW and the case for more equity and coordination of the clean energy transformation, is published by The Australia Institute and the Sydney Environment Institute. It presents the findings of a major study of the social impact of large-scale renewable energy in rural communities.

The technological shift away from coal to renewable energy for electricity generation is also a spatial shift. We are moving electricity generators to new dedicated Renewable Energy Zones (REZ) in parts of rural Australia that have not hosted energy utilities at this scale before. This report presents an analysis of this transition based on field trips, interviews, policy and industry analysis in some of the communities that will host Australia’s new electricity infrastructure.

While Renewable Energy Zones are a huge opportunity both for regional communities and for decarbonisation in Australia, if national REZ policy is to succeed it must be socially and environmentally sustainable and this must include bringing meaningful and equitable long-term development to local communities at the key sites of new electricity infrastructure.

Authors:
Dan Cass, The Australia Institute
Professor Emeritus Linda Connor, University of Sydney
Riikka Heikkinen, University of Technology Sydney
Dr Rebecca Pearse, Australian National University