Community consultation leads to route change for VNI West

Transgrid stall at community fair inviting community to have their say on the proposed VNI West route
Image: Transgrid

Transgrid has modified the preferred route for the VNI West transmission project in direct response to feedback from the local community and landowners during recent consultation.

A Preferred Route Report has been released outlining the significant change to move the proposed transmission line further away from Moulamein, extending the buffer for the township to nearly six kilometres.

Related article: AEMO report reveals new VNI West route

Transgrid project director Colin Mayer said, “Transgrid released a Draft Route Report in January outlining four options and staged a series of community meetings, information sessions and pop-up stalls during February and March to obtain feedback from the local community. In addition to verbal feedback, we received 48 written submissions.

“The proximity of the preferred route to the Moulamein township was consistently raised as a concern by members of the community as well as potential impacts on agriculture and biodiversity.

“We have listened and acted in direct response to this feedback, making a significant change to the preferred route around Moulamein to reduce impacts on the local community, landowners, agriculture and the environment.”

Topographical map with modified VNI West route highlighted in pink
Modified proposed VNI West route (Image: Transgrid)

The change to the preferred route moves the preferred route further north of the Moulamein township, extending the buffer to nearly 6km and improving visual amenity
Reduces potential impacts on irrigated agricultural farming operations. It also improves environmental outcomes particularly for Billabong and Moores creeks, and decreases the number of affected landowners from 12 to five in this section of the alignment.

The Preferred Route Report also modifies a section of the transmission line to the west of the Cobb Highway at Wanganella, shortening its length and moving it further away from residential properties to the south of Wanganella-Moulamein Road.

It widens the preferred route by up to 3km at the eastern end near Dinawan to allow flexibility to find a pathway for the transmission line through future renewable energy developments, and maintains a ‘bubble’ up to 10km wide at the southern end near the Murray River at Cobramunga to allow discussions to continue with Transmission Company Victoria to determine a specific crossing point.

Related article: VNI West could delay retirement of some coal generators

Detailed studies to assess environmental and social impacts will be undertaken as part of the formal environmental assessment and approvals process.

VNI West is being jointly developed with Transmission Company Victoria and will connect major projects EnergyConnect in NSW at the Dinawan substation and Western Renewables Link in Victoria at the Bulgana substation.

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