The South Australian component of Project EnergyConnect, the new high-voltage electricity interconnector between South Australia and New South Wales, has reached another significant milestone today following the South Australian Government’s approval of the major project’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
Project EnergyConnect is a landmark project that will drive competition in the wholesale electricity market by connecting more, low-cost renewable generation to the national electricity grid and support the ongoing transition to a lower carbon emissions future.
ElectraNet Chief Executive, Steve Masters, said approval by the State Government of the project’s EIS was a significant milestone to enable construction work on Project EnergyConnect to begin early next year.
“We started the assessment process in 2018, undertaking extensive consultation with the many stakeholders interested in our project and today marks another important milestone for the project, which is expected to deliver electricity bill savings for residential and business customers,” Mr Masters said.
“Through the EIS process, detailed environmental, cultural, social and engineering studies were undertaken to select a proposed route, collect baseline data and understand stakeholder perspectives.
“This included engaging with Traditional Owners, landholders, communities, interest groups, and local, state and federal governments, through one-on-one conversations, site visits, meetings, community drop-in sessions, and an information booth at the Riverland Field Days.
“We also used an online engagement room and interactive mapping platform to keep people up to date about the project and provide a simple way to collect feedback, from as many people as possible, especially during COVID-19 restrictions.
“More than 1200 people have visited the online engagement room since its launch in January 2021, accessing fact sheets, presentations, animations about the interconnector and its benefits, as well as interactive tools.”
Feedback from the consultation and findings from the various studies, informed the EIS and the final approved route for the interconnector.
“Our final, approved route takes into account environmentally sensitive areas and we’ve engaged with all affected communities to minimise project impacts,” Mr Masters said.
To complete the assessment process, final approval of the EIS is required from the Federal Government.
Project EnergyConnect at a glance
• A new, 900km high-voltage transmission interconnector between Robertstown, in South Australia’s mid-north, and Wagga Wagga, in New South Wales, via Buronga with an additional line between Buronga and Red Cliffs, in Victoria.
• Total line capacity of 800 MW – the equivalent of delivering energy to 240,000 extra households.
• Voltage of 330 kV.
• Upgrades to the Robertstown and Tungkillo sub-stations and a new substation at Bundey.
• Total project cost of $2.28 billion (South Australian section is $457.4 million).
• TransGrid are responsible for constructing the New South Wales section of the interconnector.
• Project works expected to start on the South Australian section in early 2022, with commissioning of the new line underway in 2023.
ElectraNet powers people’s lives by delivering safe, affordable and reliable solutions to power homes, businesses and the economy. As the owner and operator of South Australia’s electricity transmission network, it is a critical part of the electricity supply chain.
It builds, owns, operates and maintains high-voltage electricity assets, which move energy from traditional and renewable energy generators in South Australia and interstate to large load customers and the lower voltage distribution network, and increasingly provide system security services such as system strength and inertia to support the growth in renewable energy.
Transmission charges represent about 10% of a ‘typical’ residential customer annual power bill of around $1680.