AEMO Victorian Planning (AVP) and Transgrid have received more than 200 submissions in response to the Victoria to New South Wales West (VNI West) Consultation Report, which will help identify the proposed option for the transmission project.
In December 2022, AVP and Transgrid confirmed that an additional report would be published in response to stakeholder feedback, which included assessing alternate locations for the terminal station connecting the VNI West and the Western Renewables Link (WRL) projects.
Since February, a suite of consultation options, including meetings, webinars and community events, have been held to further build project understanding and gather important social, heritage, environmental and economic feedback on a proposed route.
In Victoria, AVP and Transgrid have held 12 community drop-in sessions, three webinars and more than 15 briefings with Traditional Owners, councils and stakeholders in the past six weeks. This has resulted in more than 200 submissions so far, with more expected.
AVP Group Manager, Nicola Falcon, said that consultation over the last few years has shown that there is broad understanding of the need for new transmission investment, but that the regulated process for this critical infrastructure is complex and drawn out.
“Since 2019, we’ve been consulting on this project to identify a preferred option that maximises consumer benefits while meeting the power system needs for all Victorians,” Ms Falcon said.
“The community members, farmers and council representatives we’ve met and spoken with understand that the rapid retirement of coal-fired generation is creating an urgent need for new transmission infrastructure to connect and share new electricity generation.
“We’re very thankful that hundreds of stakeholders have taken part in our consultation program and made submissions.
“In our role to help plan for the energy transition, we acknowledge and empathise that this is a long, highly regulated and technical process to deliver this essential infrastructure to provide low-cost, low-emissions energy to all Victorians,” she said.
Stakeholder submissions will be assessed and contribute to the final stage of the investment test, the Project Assessment Conclusions Report (PACR), which is due in the next month. The PACR will identify a preferred option.
The preferred option establishes the broad area of interest for the project, including locations for connecting the project into the existing electricity network. Should the project pass the regulated investment test by demonstrating it would deliver the greatest benefits, it can progress to the next stage.
“When the area of interest for the proposed route is identified, detailed land and cultural assessments and individual consultation with landholders to understand any implications and associated compensation will take place. This will happen before the final transmission design is finalised and route is selected,” Ms Falcon said.
“This would also include planning and environment approval processes in Victoria and an Environmental Impact Statement in New South Wales,” she said.
VNI West will provide a vital new transmission line to link new renewable generators with the grid and ensure reliable, affordable power as Australia transitions to clean, low-cost renewables
For further information, including webinar Q&As and recording, visit AEMO’s website.