AEMO Victorian Planning (AVP) and Transgrid are calling for submissions to the Project Assessment Draft Report (PADR) for the Victoria to New South Wales Interconnector (VNI) West project. Submissions are due by 5.00 pm on 9 September 2022.
Following the July release of the PADR, which outlined net market benefits of $687 million, AVP and Transgrid have continued to engage with local councils, communities and stakeholders more broadly to understand the need and benefits of the projects, along with addressing feedback.
VNI West is one of five actionable projects in the 2022 Integrated System Plan (ISP) to help maintain reliability and affordable energy, while supporting Australia’s transition to a net-zero emissions power system and economy.
AVP Group Manager Nicola Falcon said: “We’ve adopted learnings from recent regulatory investment tests, which have reinforced the importance of early, genuine and meaningful engagement with all stakeholders, including communities and landowners.
“Early engagement has been constructive, with a growing understanding of the role and need for transmission projects, like VNI West, to harness new generation and maintain reliable and affordable energy with 60 per cent of coal generation expected to retire by 2030,” she said.
AVP and Transgrid have been meeting regularly with nine local councils (six in Victoria and three in NSW) related to the proposed VNI West project, to advise about the project, identify potential consultation and communication opportunities, and to understand key priorities, concerns and potential impacts for each area.
In addition, more than 100 stakeholders joined two recent virtual information sessions, covering the need for the project, its context within the transitioning National Electricity Market, and the technical and economic modelling used to assess the validity of the project.
Transgrid CEO Brett Redman said: “While the PADR and the information sessions focused on the technical and economic assessment, AEMO and Transgrid were pleased to receive feedback on other project elements that are not part of the regulatory investment assessment, such as social, environmental and property matters.
“Where the feedback does not fall within the scope of the regulatory test, it will be retained and tabled for discussion at a future project stage, such as route selection, or project planning and environmental assessment,” he said.
All written submissions on the draft preferred option outlined in the VNI West PADR will be published online, unless marked as confidential.
Following this, AVP and Transgrid will works towards publishing the Project Assessment Conclusions Report (PACR) in late 2022, on the final preferred option to deliver the highest net market benefits for consumers.
 $687 million is in net present value terms. The total estimated cost of $3,256 million (nominal), is equivalent to $1,704 million on a weighted basis across the three ISP scenarios investigated in present value terms.