Transgrid’s proposed HumeLink project has begun the first phase of its planning process with the submission of a Scoping Report to the New South Wales Department of Planning and Environment (DPE).
Executive Manager of Delivery, Craig Stallan, said the new 500kV transmission line, which will connect Wagga Wagga, Bannaby and Maragle, is one of the largest projects proposed since the formation of the National Electricity Market (NEM).
“HumeLink will reinforce the backbone of the east coast’s transmission network, delivering a cheaper, more reliable and more sustainable grid,” Mr Stallan said.
“It will increase the amount of renewable energy that can be delivered to consumers across the NEM, helping to facilitate the transition to a low-carbon future.
The HumeLink Scoping Report describes the project and presents a preliminary assessment of potential impacts from the project that will be assessed in further detail in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
DPE will review the Scoping Report and then issue the Planning Secretary’s Environmental Assessment Requirements (SEARs). The SEARs sets out issues that must be addressed in the EIS.
The EIS for HumeLink will assist the community, government agencies and the New South Wales Minister for Planning to make informed decisions on the merits of the project.
While the EIS will be placed on public exhibition in early 2023 with the opportunity to make a formal submission, communities and stakeholders will be engaged throughout the development of the EIS.
The New South Wales Minister for Planning is expected to make a determination on the project in late 2023.
The submission of the report coincides with further engagement this month with landowners, regarding the refinement of part of the preferred study corridor to a 200m width.
Transgrid’s community engagement team has communicated with 161 landowners from Bannaby to Gundagai to notify them of their inclusion or exclusion from the preferred corridor.
As planning progresses, Transgrid is investigating a range of options in other areas involving an additional group of landowners, and they will be notified by early April 2022 once that consultation and feedback has been taken into account to refine that study area to 200m.
“We know landowners and the communities in the HumeLink study corridor want and deserve clarity on the potential impact of the project on their properties,” Mr Stallan said.
“We will continue to consult with all stakeholders as we progress through the project’s environmental assessment phase.
“A number of areas are still being investigated within the entire study corridor, and we are continuing to gather community feedback on property-specific environmental and cultural considerations, local farming operations, logistics and land use.
“We expect to confirm almost all of the final preferred 200m corridor by April.”