Key section of EnergyConnect now approved

EnergyConnect project site

Transgrid’s critical electricity transmission interconnector, EnergyConnect, has achieved planning approval from the NSW Government for the key western section linking New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.

The decision by New South Wales Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes comes after a thorough review of the project’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for works in the state’s southwest.

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“EnergyConnect will save New South Wales customers $180 million per year, create up to 1500 jobs and contribute a further $4 billion in economic activity for the state,” Transgrid acting CEO Brian Salter said.

“The interconnector is one of the largest projects ever proposed in the National Electricity Market (NEM) and it will facilitate Australia’s energy transition, bringing a reduction in carbon emissions, and helping the nation meet its climate change targets.

“The project will be the critical missing link in the NEM, connecting more renewable generation and reinforcing connectivity between the state grids of New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria.”

In May, 2021, Transgrid confirmed the company would invest $1.834 billion in the project.

The western section of the project includes works between the New South Wales/South Australian border near Renmark Rd, TransGrid’s existing substation at Buronga, and the New South Wales/Victorian border near Monak.

The New South Wales Government declared the New South Wales section of EnergyConnect as Critical State Significant Infrastructure (CSSI) in August 2019. Transgrid is preparing a separate EIS for works between Buronga and Wagga Wagga. This includes a key section between Dinawan (south of Coleambally) and Wagga, which will now be upgraded, with these works being underwritten by the Federal Government.

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The Federal Government recently announced the $180 million upgrade which will future-proof the transmission network. It is critical for the development of the planned South West Renewable Energy Zone and it will enable the full benefits of Snowy 2.0.

This investment means New South Wales households would avoid paying an additional amount of approximately $600 million to build a new connection in this section of EnergyConnect in the future. 

The upgrade does not impact timeframes for the EIS, which is still expected to be on public display early in 2022.