Orana REZ Transmission project declared critical infrastructure

orana

Residents and business owners in the State’s Central-West Orana region will soon be able to talk with TransGrid teams about the planning of transmission assets for Australia’s first coordinated Renewable Energy Zone (REZ).

CEO Paul Italiano says more information is available about the Central-West Orana REZ Transmission project, which was declared Critical State Significant Infrastructure today by the NSW Government.

“We welcome the NSW Government’s recognition of the Central-West Orana REZ, which will help deliver lower electricity bills for customers and create more than 3900 construction jobs at the peak of the project,” Mr Italiano said.

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“Early in 2021, our people will be in the Central-West Orana region talking to communities and it is important we hear from landowners as we plan new transmission lines, a substation and other infrastructure as part of the project,” he said.

“Their feedback will inform planning about the transmission line route and help us minimise impacts on communities and maximise benefits for the local region.”

The NSW Government has committed $39.7 million to the project, which will add at least 3,000MW of electricity capacity to the system. The project will represent around $5.2 billion in private sector investment and it will also create 500 ongoing jobs, providing a boost for regional NSW communities.

The proposed transmission lines will run north-west from the existing network near Merriwa, passing south of Dunedoo, before proceeding south-west to connect to the existing network east of Wellington. The study corridor includes an option to extend further south near Lake Burrendong. Wollar substation will also be upgraded as part of the transmission project.

In the new year, TransGrid teams will start working with local communities to discuss preliminary works, including field surveys. People will be able to provide feedback a number of ways including:

  • COVID-safe face-to-face meetings
  • Online interactive map
  • Community information sessions, which will start in February 2021 (to be advertised in local papers and on the project webpage)

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A $5 million funding boost from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has enabled TransGrid to undertake feasibility and planning works for the Central-West Orana REZ and to begin the community engagement program.

“We will continue to work closely with the NSW Government and ARENA on this significant project which will see new electricity generation and storage built alongside new transmission infrastructure,” Mr Italiano said.

TransGrid has collaborated with the NSW Government and ARENA on the project since mid-2019, with this first coordinated REZ expected to inform the model for two other REZs in the State’s north and south.

The Central-West Orana REZ Transmission is expected to be shovel-ready at the end of 2022, with construction commencing in early 2023.