State government grants $ 2.3 billion approval for transmission link – pv magazine Australia

Construction of a new $ 2.3 billion power interconnector that will link the energy grids of South Australia and New South Wales is expected to begin early this year after government approval of the ‘South Australia of the environmental impact study of the project.

The EnergyConnect project, which is expected to unlock more than $ 20 billion in new renewable energy projects in South Australia (SA) and New South Wales (NSW), is one step closer to realization with the construction which is expected to start early this year after the South Australian component of the project receives environmental approval from the state government.

A joint venture between ElectraNet, owner of SA’s high voltage transmission network and Transgrid, the network operator of NSW, the SA component of the high voltage electrical interconnection between the two states obtained environmental approval upon completion last month, three years after the start of the assessment process.

ElectraNet chief executive Steve Masters said the South African government’s decision was an important step, with only the federal government’s approval of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIS) required to complete. the evaluation process.

Masters said if the federal government kicks off the project, construction could begin early this year with the commissioning of the new line which is expected to be underway in 2023.

“We started the evaluation process in 2018, undertaking a broad consultation with the many stakeholders interested in our project and (this) marks another important milestone for the project,” he said.

“Through the EIA process, detailed environmental, cultural, social and technical studies were undertaken to select a proposed route, collect baseline data and understand stakeholder views.

“Our final and approved route takes into account ecologically sensitive areas and we have engaged with all affected communities to minimize the impacts of the project. “

The project consists of constructing a 900 km long interconnection between SA and NSW with an additional connection at Victoria.

Image: ARE

The 900-kilometer high-voltage transmission interconnection will stretch from Robertstown in north-central South Africa to Wagga Wagga in New South Wales via Buronga with an additional line between Buronga and Red Cliffs, in Victoria.

It has been planned that the 330 kV interconnector, which has been identified as a priority project in both the AEMO Integrated System Plan and the New Wales Government’s Transmission Infrastructure Strategy of South, will improve the security of the electricity system and unlock up to 30 new wind and solar projects totaling nearly 5.3 GW. .

ElectraNet confirmed in June that it had made a final investment decision to move forward with the SA section of the Robertstown interconnector at the New South Wales border, at an estimated cost of $ 457 million. of dollars.

Transgrid gained government approval for the first leg of the much longer 900 km connector section on the NSW side in September. Transgrid’s share in the deal is estimated at $ 1.8 billion.

Transgrid said the project would be the “critical missing link in the national electricity market (NEM), connecting more renewable energy production and strengthening connectivity between the state grids of NSW, SA and Victoria.”

The EIA approval for the SA component of the electrical interconnection comes after ElectraNet awarded the transmission and substation contracts for its part of the project.

Downer Utilities Australia was awarded the transmission lines contract with works to include approximately 200 km of new 330 kV transmission line between the South African border and NSW and the new Bundey substation near Robertstown, and approximately 10 km of new transmission line between Robertstown and Bundey substations.

The substation work, including construction of the new Bundey facility and work to augment the existing Robertstown and Tungkillo substations, was awarded to Consolidated Power Projects Australia, a specialist in high voltage infrastructure.

“Both entrepreneurs have already made a big commitment to the market and this will continue over the next few months,” said Masters.

With the contractors now appointed, ElectraNet has also set up a page allowing sub-contractors to register their interest via the Industry Capability Network with the information to be shared with the contractors selected for the project.

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