Transgrid and govt in $75m agreement for VNI West

Transmission towers against sunset (ausnet community fund)
Image: Shutterstock

Transgrid has entered into an underwriting agreement with the Commonwealth Government to develop the Victoria to New South Wales Interconnector West (VNI West), a major transmission infrastructure project proposed to secure the electricity supply and boost sharing between the two states. 

Transgrid CEO Brett Redman said, “The new 500kV interconnector would improve supply reliability and increase customer access to cheaper, cleaner electricity from generators like Snowy 2.0, as energy storage becomes critical to support growing renewables.” 

Related article: Early works start on Transgrid’s EnergyConnect 

“We welcome the agreement, which will enable us to plan with confidence for a project identified by the Australian Energy Market Operator as critical to the delivery of a clean energy future.” 

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) identifies VNI West as an actionable project in the Integrated System Plan (ISP) for the National Electricity Market (NEM). 

“VNI West is currently being assessed for viability and Transgrid is undertaking early works. This agreement will maximise the opportunity to deliver the project aligned with the regulatory investment test for transmission (RIT-T) process,” Redman said. 

VNI West is in the early regulatory assessment stage, however, the project is not yet validated, committed or approved. 

The Commonwealth’s key objective in entering into the agreement is to facilitate development of the project, which when combined with Transgrid’s other major infrastructure projects like EnergyConnect and HumeLink will transform the grid. 

“Transgrid will link South Australia with New South Wales and Victoria with the new interconnector EnergyConnect and delivering the ISP vision to reinforce the backbone of the east coast’s transmission network with another major transmission project HumeLink. Together, our major projects will transform the grid by enabling a significant increase in the amount of renewable energy that can be delivered to consumers across the National Electricity Market,” Redman said.

Related article: Federal funding for Tasmania’s Battery of the Nation

“By delivering a reliable transition to renewables, we will help drive down customer bills and help reduce carbon emissions for a cheaper, more reliable and sustainable clean energy future.” 

The Commonwealth and Transgrid have agreed to work collaboratively to achieve VNI West’s early works. The project’s regulatory assessment stage is expected to be complete by early 2023 and if a positive outcome is realised, the VNI West project will have a solid platform to progress with full development and delivery of the new interconnector. 

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