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The western section of Transgrid’s electricity transmission interconnector, EnergyConnect, has gained planning approval from the New South Wales Government.

The decision by the New South Wales Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, Rob Stokes, came after a review of the project’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for works in the state’s southwest.

Transgrid’s Acting CEO, Brian Salter, said, “EnergyConnect will save New South Wales customers $180 million per year, create up to 1500 jobs and contribute a further $4 billion in economic activity for the state.

“The interconnector is one of the largest projects ever proposed in the National Electricity Market and it will facilitate Australia’s energy transition, bringing a reduction in carbon emissions and helping the nation meet its climate change targets.

“The project will be the critical missing link in the National Electricity Market, connecting more renewable generation and reinforcing connectivity between the state grids of New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria.”

In May 2021, Transgrid confirmed the company would invest $1.834 billion in the project.

The western section of the project includes works between the New South Wales and South Australian border near Renmark Road, Transgrid’s existing substation at Buronga, and the New South Wales and Victorian border near Monak.

The New South Wales Government declared the state’s section of EnergyConnect as Critical State Significant Infrastructure (CSSI) in August 2019. 

Transgrid is preparing a separate EIS for works between Buronga and Wagga Wagga. This includes a key section between Dinawan (south of Coleambally) and Wagga, which will now be upgraded, with these works being underwritten by the Federal Government.

The Federal Government recently announced the $180 million upgrade to future-proof the transmission network. It aims to help develop the planned South West Renewable Energy Zone and enable the full benefits of Snowy 2.0.

The upgrade does not impact timeframes for the EIS, which is still expected to be on public display early in 2022.

For more information about EnergyConnect, go to: https://www.transgrid.com.au/energyconnect.

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