With the announcement of the NSW government's Energy Infrastructure Roadmap last week, NSW is set to rocket towards first place in Australia's renewable energy race.
While families and businesses across the state will enjoy the benefits of lower electricity prices, clean jobs, and a climate-safe economy, Orange and the Central West are in a particularly exciting position.
For starters, we are right at the doorstep of the Central West-Orana Renewable Energy Zone, which is one of the two major projects the NSW government will direct policy and financial support towards.
This will drive an influx of renewable energy developers to the region - good news for Orange, which is a major hub for the professional services that these companies will need. Opportunities await local companies in financial, legal and administrative services, and more.
There's also good news for energy workers in the Central West.
Many of the engineering and operations jobs are highly transferable between fossil fuel generation and renewables, providing a clear and viable transition pathway for workers in these industries.
The lower electricity prices that will result from the influx of wind and solar energy are also great news for industries in our region, and set the scene for strong economic development in the years ahead.
Operations like Newcrest's Cadia Gold Mine will see cost savings that can be channelled into innovation, productivity improvements, and expansion.
The same goes for the wineries that are a key pillar of our region's economy, and have in recent years suffered costly damages due to worsening climate change impacts, losing crops to droughts and heatwaves, as well as smoke taint from bushfires.
Not only do they have cost savings to look forward to, there's also the peace of mind that comes with seeing your government taking action to address climate change and worsening extreme weather.
The potential outcomes of this announcement show that everyone wins when leaders at all levels of government heed the science and economics.
Councils across the Central West have been developing clean energy strategies for a while, and the State government has now joined the party.
The Federal government is increasingly isolated in clutching on to the myths about new gas or coal that the fossil fuel industry perpetuates.
It's time for them to leave the dark ages behind and step into the sun with the rest of us.
Dr Simon Wright is an Orange-based sustainability expert and consultant.
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