COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine are among the factors which have led to a delay in the renewable energy zone project.
Despite this, energy minister Penny Sharpe said the government is "absolutely" committed to delivering on the project and promised investment into the community.
Ms Sharpe visited Dubbo on Thursday to meet with local stakeholders about the Central West Orana Renewable Energy Zone which she earlier said could be delayed by up to three years.
"For me it was about understanding what's going on on the ground," she told the Daily Liberal.
"I had a good meeting with mayors and local members, I had a good meeting with First Nations groups.
"I was asking them about how the project is going and what they need into the future as the project starts to come together."
The Central West Orana Renewable Energy Zone covers almost 21,000 square kilometres and is expected to have a network capacity of 4.5 gigawatts - enough to power 47 per cent of the households in the state.
Originally its "energisation date" was slated for 2025, but now it's not expected to be up and running until 2027 or 28.
"In 2019 and 2020 when the legislation was put in place it hadn't really been dealt with in the real world," Ms Sharpe said.
"And since then there's been a whole range of things that have changed - I mean the war in Ukraine has impacts all the way back to Australia in terms of supply chain and the international energy system.
"We've also had COVID, issues around skill shortages, cost of living pressures. There's a lot of things we need to factor in."
Central West Orana Renewable Energy Zone is expected to bring over $10 billion of private investment into the central west region and over 4,000 construction jobs at its peak.
Ms Sharpe said the stakeholders she spoke to were "enthusiastic" about the project but had concerns about how it was being delivered.
"People were thoughtful and realistic about the need for change and really quite positive about what it means for the region - but they also had legitimate concerns about legacy, about making sure the community is a genuine partner rather than a passive recipient," she said.
"The urgency of needing to transition our electricity system for the whole state as coal fire power comes off in the next 10 years is real.
"We need to do this as quickly as possible. And without community support this will be much slower."
One concern raised about the project has been around the use of prime agricultural land for solar and wind farm projects, which member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson called an "emerging crisis".
"Land use conflict is part of the challenges that we have to work through and I would hope that through consultation and working carefully through this we're able to avoid a whole range of places," minister Sharpe said, responding to his comments.
"But it's not going to be the case that we can say 'no, never', it's really going to be a process of working through it line by line. I don't want to pretend that there isn't land use conflict but I think the way proponents work with landholders is really important."
"We don't want cowboys, we want people that are working properly with landholders."
Ms Sharpe said she will come back to Dubbo in three months to check in with stakeholders again.
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"I want to see progress - I'm hoping when I come back people will say that they're beginning to see what is in this for us and beginning to feel as though we're part of it,"
"Beyond just the 'we need to build things', we need to bring communities with us and let them seize the opportunities that come from this and let them see and touch and feel that benefit."
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