The views of locals will be front and centre in the development of the New England Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) with a new REZ Regional Reference Group launched on Tuesday.
It will soon get to work with the first meeting set down for Wednesday.
"We are bringing representatives from our region's local councils, Aboriginal Land Councils and the relevant State Government agencies to the table as part of the Regional Reference Group," Northern Tablelanda MP Adam Marshall said when he launched the group.
Mr Marshall said the forum would be the key channel to ensure the REZ delivered meaningful long-term benefits for the community and guaranteed renewable energy projects were developed with public support, in the right locations in the region.
With a predicted $12.7 billion direct investment in the local region over the next decade, Mr Marshall said renewables had the potential to underwrite our community's prosperity for generations to come.
"I want to make sure we secure every possible economic and employment benefit for our community in a way that supports existing land uses and local landholders," he said.
"We warmly welcome renewables in our region, but it must not come at the cost of any of our existing industries or amenity.
"This is about working with the local community from day-dot to make sure the REZ is delivered in a way that boosts the benefits without compromising the assets that make our region so unique."
After the first meeting takes place tomorrow in Armidale, there will be a call for registrations of interest in the New England REZ.
"I'm looking forward to bringing everyone to the table tomorrow and getting cracking on planning and designing the incredibly exciting future that awaits us," Mr Marshall said.
The zone is a crucial element of the Australian Energy Market Operator's Integrated System Plan, a roadmap to an energy system dominated almost exclusively by renewable energy by 2040.
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