Project EnergyConnect achieves important milestone
ElectraNet and TransGrid have today welcomed the approval by the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) of the regulatory investment test for transmission (RIT-T) for Project EnergyConnect.
ElectraNet Chief Executive Steve Masters said today’s announcement was an important project milestone, with the AER determining the business case for Project EnergyConnect was “robust”.
Mr Masters said the AER also determined the proposed interconnector, between South Australia and New South Wales, remained the most “credible option that maximises the net economic benefit” in the National Electricity Market (NEM), ultimately benefiting electricity customers.
“The Australian Energy Market Operator’s (AEMO) recently released draft 2020 Integrated System Plan identifies Project EnergyConnect as a ‘no regrets’ project for the national electricity market,” he said.
TransGrid Chief Executive Officer Paul Italiano said TransGrid and ElectraNet were committed to delivering the project at the lowest possible cost with the greatest benefit to energy consumers.
“Project EnergyConnect provides the critical infrastructure needed to enable the sharing of renewable and baseload generation in the National Energy Market,” Mr Italiano said.
Project EnergyConnect supports Australia’s growing renewable energy industry, with up to 30 new wind and solar projects (totalling nearly 5300 megawatts) planned for South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria, expected to benefit from the new transmission line.
This would be enough energy to power more than 1.6 million Australian homes.
ElectraNet and TransGrid both acknowledge support for Project EnergyConnect from the South Australian Government which has enabled early works such as line route identification and stakeholder engagement on both sides of the border to progress.
The next step involves both businesses preparing a Contingent Project Application to be lodged with the AER for approval.
ElectraNet has been exploring and consulting for about four years on the economic benefits of a new interconnector and network support options aimed at reducing the cost of providing secure and reliable electricity in South Australia, while facilitating the transition of the energy sector to low emission energy sources across the national energy market (NEM).
Project EnergyConnect involves the construction of a new 330kV interconnector between Robertstown, in South Australia, and Wagga Wagga via Buronga, in New South Wales, with a link at Buronga to renewable energy generators at Red Cliffs, in north-west Victoria. The transmission line will be approximately 900km in length.
It will deliver a range of direct benefits for customers in South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria including lower power prices, improved energy security and increased economic activity. Opportunities will also be created for regional communities through job creation and local procurement during construction and in the longer term as new energy projects come online.
Project EnergyConnect enables Australia’s transition to lower carbon emissions and improving power system security and resilience. It offers a national energy solution which maximises the abundance of high-quality renewable energy already generated and will assist in unlocking more solar, wind and hydro resources throughout the national electricity market.
ElectraNet and TransGrid, with support from the South Australian Government, have been undertaking early route and site selection works for Project EnergyConnect as well as environmental and social studies required for obtaining planning approvals. Extensive community engagement including face-to-face landholder and stakeholder consultation about the proposed route alignment and easement acquisition processes has been ongoing and will continue.
Media contact details
ElectraNet: Matthew Peake / firstname.lastname@example.org / 0438 870 522
TransGrid: Michelle Stone / email@example.com / 0438 293 917
Project EnergyConnect key facts
• Proposed construction of a new interconnector between Robertstown, in South Australia’s mid-north, and Wagga Wagga, in New South Wales, via Buronga and with an additional line between Buronga and Red Cliffs, in Victoria
• New power lines would total approximately 900 kilometres
• New power substation to be built at Robertstown as well as new transformers and other power infrastructure along the power line’s route
• Capacity of 800 MW – the equivalent of delivering energy to 240,000 extra households
• Voltage of 330 kV
• Independent modelling indicates that typical residential electricity bills are estimated to reduce annually by about $66 in South Australia and $30 in NSW. For small businesses, bills are estimated to reduce annually by $132 in South Australia and $71 in NSW. These savings are estimated to start flowing after the project’s completion.
• Would be built near identified Renewable Energy Zones (REZs) to enable the connection of future renewable energy projects to the national energy grid
• Will enable South Australia to increase renewable energy (wind and solar) production and export it into the national market
Proposed route between Wagga Wagga, NSW and Robertstown, SA.
Jan 24, 2020 TransGrid shortlists three bidders for the design and construction of the NSW section to be built from the South Australian border to Wagga Wagga.