Fast-tracking the Central-West renewable energy zone near Dubbo could potentially create thousands of jobs in the Hunter Region, new Climate Council of Australia research shows.
It is one of several projects that has been targeted in the Climate Council's Clean Jobs Plan, which aims to create 25,000 jobs in NSW.
The target includes 8,000 jobs in active and public transport, 5,500 jobs in large scale renewable energy, 3,000 jobs in improving the collection of organic waste, 2,500 in making buildings more energy efficient and up to 2,200 jobs in ecosystem restoration.
Some jobs could be created now but all would be created within three years.
"The opportunities identified in our modelling work are shovel ready and can make a difference where they are needed in NSW." report author Andrew Charlton said.
"One third of job openings require minimal training, meaning that workers who lost their jobs because of the COVID-19 crisis can be rapidly employed."
Climate Council board member, Sam Mostyn said the Clean Jobs Plan was unique because it provided opportunities to get people working immediately.
It estimates every dollar of public investment in large scale renewables would unlock $3 of private investment.
"It puts us on a practical, jobs-rich path and focuses on areas most in need," he said.
"It sets us up for the future, by creating jobs and tackling climate change. It's a win-win solution."
Jobs needed to create the Central West Renewable Energy zone include construction and project managers, engineers, electricians, mechanical trades, office managers and contract administrators and drivers.
Many of these skill sets can be directly transferred from the coal industry.
"To help address job losses in regional NSW, the state government can accelerate the development of a number of projects that are part of the Central-West Renewable Energy Zone. This would create hundreds of jobs in Dubbo and Orange while bringing 4.4 billion in investment to the local region," Ms Mostyn said.
"The timing and location of these renewables jobs will influence whether they can be a source of alternative jobs for coal workers. Re-training of coal workers would also be required - but if stimulus was funnelled now, this could see many coal workers on the road to working in the renewable energy sector."
"NSW has seen steep job losses throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. But with the right policy measures, thousands of jobs can be created across the state in large-scale renewable energy and improving the collection of organic waste," Mr Charlton said.