The Victorian Government has announced six new major energy projects, transmission network and grid upgrades, set to facilitate more renewable energy into the grid.
The Stage One projects of the $540 million Renewable Energy Zones (REZs) across regional Victoria will modernise Victoria’s electricity grid and unlock new renewable energy investment, preparing the grid for the unprecedented load of renewable energy in the pipeline.
Victorian Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily D’Ambrosio, said the projects will make it easier for new projects to be connected to Victoria’s grid — signalling to developers Victoria is ready for new solar and wind projects.
Currently, Victoria has its strongest energy infrastructure in the Latrobe Valley, where coal fire power has historically been concentrated.
However, Victoria has significant natural resources – wind and sunshine – found along the windy Southwest coast, and Western Victoria, as well as the sunny North-west.
These six projects include three pieces of infrastructure that will work like ‘shock absorbers’ to smooth out higher and lower rates of energy flowing through the lines, making it easier for renewable energy to enter the grid.
There are also three projects that will upgrade the transmission network, to increase the capacity of existing lines, so they can carry higher energy loads, pumping more renewables across Victoria.
The Victorian Government has commissioned the Australian Energy Market Operator to seek tenders for the six projects.
The Government will continue to assess a further two network investment projects – the Mortlake Turn-in, and the Western Victorian Transmission Network Uprate which is also subject to an Environment Effects Statement process currently underway.
VicGrid, a new body which has been established as a Division within the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, will oversee investment decisions related to the $540 million REZ Fund.
VicGrid will continue to evolve, following further stakeholder consultation, to coordinate the future development of Victoria’s REZs.