HSF collaborates on effort to streamline major clean energy project approval

The aim of the initiative is to help NSW achieve its net zero target by 2050

HSF collaborates on effort to streamline major clean energy project approval

Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) has collaborated with Clean Energy Investor Group (CEIG), on an effort to speed up and streamline the process of approving major clean energy projects in NSW.

The two organisations published a report titled Delivering Major Clean Energy Projects in NSW, which delved into the statutory planning approval processes in the state. The report revealed what HSF described as “quick wins” as well as long-term opportunities to reform such processes.

The initiative aims to help keep NSW on the path of reaching its net zero target by 2050; at present, the state’s average approval times fall behind those of other jurisdictions in Australia. According to Peter Briggs, environment, planning and communities partner at HSF, the review findings suggested that the state’s clean energy targets relied on “efficient, comprehensive, and transparent planning procedures without undue delays”.

“The timely completion of key renewable energy and transmission projects is crucial for reaching renewable energy generation targets by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2050 in NSW”, he explained.

The report provided recommendations on how to streamline draft guidelines based on the Draft Energy Policy Framework, which was exhibited until January. CEIG CEO Simon Corbell said that the streamlining of the process would maintain a stringent community consultation process.

“Increasing clean energy and phasing out harmful fossil fuels will help us cut pollution and protect our environment. It’s a given that projects need to be in the right locations, in consultation with communities, and any environmental impacts are minimised”, he said.

HSF environment, planning and communities senior associate Tom Dougherty added that the report provided “well-timed guidance”. 

“With the commencement of new greenhouse gas emissions targets for NSW on 11 December 2023, this report provides well-timed guidance on how the state’s planning system can be streamlined for major clean energy projects and support a pathway to net zero”, he said.

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