The analysis in the Project Assessment Conclusions Report (PACR) builds on the assessment in the 2018 Integrated System Plan (ISP) prepared by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) and its findings are consistent with the draft 2020 ISP results released by AEMO on 12 December 2019 (which reconfirms the proposed network upgrade and labels it a ‘no regret’ action). In addition, the 2019 AEMO Electricity Statement of Opportunities (ESOO) reconfirmed the importance of completing an incremental upgrade to the Queensland to NSW Interconnector (QNI), as well as a minor upgrade of VNI, ahead of the forecast closure of Liddell Power Station.
The PACR continues to find that the preferred option is expected to deliver significant net benefits associated with expanding transfer capacity between New South Wales and Queensland in the near-term. This aligns with both the 2018 ISP recommendations and the draft 2020 ISP recommendations.
It finds that uprating the Liddell to Tamworth lines and installing new dynamic reactive support at Tamworth and Dumaresq and shunt capacitor banks delivers the greatest expected net benefits of all options considered and is the ‘preferred option’ as part of this RIT-T.
The analysis shows that the preferred option is expected to:
- deliver approximately $170 million in net benefits over the assessment period;
- reduce the need for new generation and large-scale storage in New South Wales to meet demand following Liddell Power Station’s forecast retirement over 2022 and 2023;
- lower the aggregate generator fuel costs required to meet demand in the National Electricity Market (NEM) going forward;
- avoid capital costs associated with enabling greater integration of renewables in the NEM; and
- generate sufficient benefits to recover the project capital costs seven years after the option is commissioned.