The New England is set to become "the biggest power station in the country".
That's according to State Minister for Energy Matt Kean who said today's announcement of a 8000-megawatt New England renewable energy zone will turn the region into the country's biggest power hub.
"Cheap, clean, renewable energy will be generated right here in the New England region. It'll see $12 billion worth of investment coming into our communities here. Over 2,000 new jobs will be involved in the construction of this power station and 1,300 permanent jobs once complete," he said.
The state government minister joined Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall to scale a 137-metre high turbine outside of Glen Innes today to illustrate the size of the multi-billion dollar announcement.
But some environment groups say it doesn't go far enough, with Nature Conservation Council of NSW saying the state has to end coal and gas production by 2030 to do its bit to halt climate change.
Acting Chief Executive Jacqui Mumford said Minister Kean has done a good job of pulling the government in the right direction "but there is still a question mark over whether that transition is happening fast enough."
"Under current arrangements, coal power will be phased out in NSW around 2050, which is far too late."
Independent MLC Justin Field, a former Green politician, said the success of the renewable energy zone policy shows environmentalists had been right all along that a small amount of public investment could unlock an enormous amount of private interest.
"It does then beg the question why they are then also at the same time pursuing more damaging projects like the Narrabri Gas Project. I'm sure that's a question that a lot of people have asked off the back of this announcement," he said.
The state government will spend just $80 million on the New England renewable energy zone, but it is anticipated the money will encourage private investment of about $12.7 billion.
The first phase of the scheme will see the State Government work with local councils and community members to map and plan where the zone will be build and the energy mix involved.
As the New England naturally offers wind, solar and land, Mr Kean said the project will focus on ensuring the build is done in a coordinated way to protect prime agricultural land.
Mr Marshall said the Renewable Energy Zone will be the most significant development for the New England region in a whole generation.
"We are talking about converting the wonderful resources we have and transforming our region into the virtual electricity powerhouse of NSW. For the first time ever in our region's history, we will be an exporter of energy which means more jobs, more money, more investment and more growth."
Mr Marshall said the State Government was eager to avoid unnecessary angst, land use conflicts and "awkward town hall meetings".