AEMO Victorian Planning (AVP) and Transgrid have today published a Consultation Report calling for stakeholder feedback on the outcomes of the Victoria to New South Wales Interconnector West (VNI West) options analysis, including alternate locations for connecting to Western Renewables Link (WRL).
VNI West is a proposed new 500 kilovolt overhead transmission line connecting WRL in Victoria to EnergyConnect in New South Wales, identified to harness cleaner, low-cost electricity from renewable energy zones in both states and strengthen Victoria’s connection to Snowy 2.0.
Together, these projects will increase network resilience and energy reliability for consumers in Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia, increase the sharing of energy and help put downward pressure on electricity bills.
AVP Group Manager Nicola Falcon said that broad and open engagement continues for this critical project to provide reliable, secure and affordable electricity as Australia undergoes a once-in-a-century energy transition.
“The assessment of alternate VNI West corridors was brought to our attention through stakeholder submissions to the Project Assessment Draft Report (PADR) and through meetings with Traditional Owners, councils, industry and local communities,” Ms Falcon said.
“We’ve acted on that feedback by assessing not only the technical and economic elements for seven potential options, but also broader land planning, environmental and social factors.
“Taking all these factors into account, we now believe we have found a better option, which would connect VNI West into WRL further west at Bulgana and remove the need for the proposed terminal station north of Ballarat.”
AVP and Transgrid will now consult with stakeholders on this assessment over a six-week period. A final decision on the proposed, preferred option will be included in the final regulatory report, the Project Assessment Conclusions Report (PACR) in May 2023. Earlier this week, the Victorian Minister for Energy and Resources, Lily D’Ambrosio made an Order under the National Electricity (Victoria) Act 2005 to help fast-track VNI West in recognition of the crucial role it will play in unlocking renewable generation in Victoria and connecting with the New South Wales grid.
The order enables AVP to consider alternate VNI West options, which reduce the risk of delays, and better meet local needs.
This is consistent with the feedback AVP and Transgrid have heard from communities and the need for earlier, broader community engagement through the regulatory process. Submissions to the Consultation Report are due by 5pm 5 April 2023, at VNIWestRITT@aemo.com.au