Communities living close to renewable energy developments could see their power bills drop, with access to cheaper electricity.
It's one of the concessions the region's councils have discussed as they join forces in a body that will determine where wind and solar farms are constructed in the New England region.
The new Regional Energy Zone (REZ) reference group, including local councils and Aboriginal Land Councils, met for the first time in Armidale on Wednesday.
Until now it has been the domain of the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment to approve or reject applications for wind and solar farms, but as part of the New England region being declared a renewable energy zone, locals will have a greater say.
Among the gathering when the REZ Regional Reference Group met at the Powerhouse Motel, were mayors and general managers, as well as senior staff, from councils including Armidale, Uralla, Glen Innes, Inverell and Walcha.
Asked if it was difficult to get the councils to agree, Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall said they were all dealing with the same issues.
"Everyone's very keen to welcome renewable developments, they're very keen to capture the long-term benefits from the projects," Mr Marshall told The Armidale Express.
He said that could see cheaper electricity for communities that are close to developments, as well as benefits such as new mobile phone towers and road upgrades included during construction.
"It's a way of incentivising further job creation and industry, because you've got cheaper power than communities that sit outside a renewable energy zone," he said.
Meanwhile, the areas where the group wants to prohibit wind and solar farms - such as prime agricultural land - will also be on the agenda.
That is expected to be discussed at the group's next meeting.
"Everyone agrees to the principle that this is all about reaping those $12.7 billion of benefits for our communities without suffering any of the negative impacts.
"Without having that occur at the cost of good agricultural land, lifestyle, rural amenity, all of that.
"It's critical we can do it as part of the REZ and say 'okay proponents you're all welcome, but we only want your projects developed in these locations'."
The MP said it would make it clear for residents where renewable projects would be zoned before developments are proposed by wind and solar companies.
"That's what the zone is all about, putting the region in the driver's seat," he said.
An expression of interest process will the first step in the long planning process for the 8000 megawatt zone.
New England is one of three renewable energy zones in NSW.
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