Transgrid and Charles Sturt University bring new energy to Riverina

Transgrid Executive Manager for Corporate Services Chris Pemberton and Charles Sturt University Chief Operating Officer Rick Willmott
Transgrid Executive Manager for Corporate Services Chris Pemberton and Charles Sturt University Chief Operating Officer Rick Willmott

Transgrid has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Charles Sturt University to bring opportunities for students and research as well as helping to create jobs and a substantial economic boost for the Riverina.

The partnership was announced at the University’s Wagga Wagga campus.

As part of the MoU, Transgrid and Charles Sturt will seek to develop opportunities for research and infrastructure, while training, education and employment pipelines for Charles Sturt students and First Nations people will also be developed. 

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These projects will help facilitate the successful completion of two major, clean energy projects being delivered by Transgrid which are centred on Wagga Wagga: 

  • EnergyConnect—a 900km electricity transmission line being built between Wagga Wagga and Robertstown in South Australia (with a connection to Red Cliffs in Victoria) which will help connect more solar and wind generation and will generate $4 billion in economic benefit
  • HumeLink—a proposed 500kV transmission line which will connect Wagga Wagga, Bannaby and Maragle, which will help unlock the full capacity of the expanded Snowy Hydro Scheme.

TransGrid executive manager for delivery Craig Stallan said the partnership is an important part of investing in the region. 

“We are leading Australia’s transition to clean energy future and it’s incredibly exciting, particularly for Wagga Wagga, as it will become the hub of the energy transformation in NSW. 

“The shift to clean energy will bring thousands of new jobs, many in regional NSW, and we’re delighted to be partnering with Charles Sturt University to help develop the local workforce we will need to be based here for many years to come to run and maintain new infrastructure,” 

“We want to leave Wagga Wagga better than we found it and creating education and training opportunities will play a key role in that,” Stallan said. 

Charles Sturt Vice-Chancellor Professor Renée Leon said the MoU was in keeping with Charles Sturt’s strategy and standing as Australia’s leading regional university. 

“Charles Sturt University is proud to announce another partnership with industry that will open up opportunities for our students, lead to collaboration on impactful research, and grow the skills and infrastructure in our regional communities,” she said. 

“The University is delighted to play its part in ensuring the skills and infrastructure are in place that will generate thousands of jobs and assist Australia’s transition to a clean energy future. 

“We welcome the start of what we believe will be a long and important partnership with Transgrid which will benefit the Riverina and regional Australia.”

Charles Sturt and Transgrid have agreed to discuss several projects stemming from the MoU, including:

  • Scholarships, cadetships, training and graduate employment opportunities for students, including First Nations students
  • The co-creation of educational programs, including in electrical engineering, virtual reality and drone training
  • Collaborative research projects and programs
  • Organising joint industry and research activities, such as courses, conferences, seminars, symposia or lectures. 

Wagga Wagga City Council Mayor Cr Greg Conkey congratulated Transgrid and Charles Sturt on the partnership and welcomed the prospect of more diverse educational opportunities for students. 

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“Education and training are the key to a skilled workforce. Our educators are no doubt a vital link in that process and to provide more opportunity in specialised fields, whilst engaging new technologies, puts this city in a perfect position to attract more students.

“Providing those students with full-time job opportunities after they have graduated is a major contributing factor when it comes to growing and maintaining our population in the regions,” Cr Conkey said.