A Project Assessment Draft Report (PADR) has been published for an inter-state transmission project that would allow the sharing of electricity and up to $687 million in market benefits. 

The PADR selected one of five actionable plans outlined by the AEMO in its 2022 Integrated System Plan, to facilitate electricity transmission between Victoria and NSW, called the Victoria-NSW Interconnector (VNI) West Project

The VNI West Project was deemed the preferred option for reinforcement of the transmission network between the states, rather than combining with a “non-network” battery option, which will help facilitate the energy transition at lowest cost for consumers. 

In developing the PADR, Transgrid and AEMO Victorian Planning (AVP) have considered stakeholder feedback on the Project Specification Consultation Report published in December 2019. The PADR provides an opportunity for further consultation and feedback on the proposed preferred option prior to finalising the regulatory assessment (RIT-T) to ensure network planners make prudent investments on behalf of electricity consumers who ultimately fund the projects.

Transgrid CEO, Brett Redman, said “Our investigations with AVP have determined the VNI West (via Kerang) option would provide the best outcome for energy consumers, with net market benefits of $687 million.

“Strategically, VNI West is designed to connect to other transmission projects underway in South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales (Project EnergyConnect, Western Renewable Link and HumeLink), increasing network resilience and energy reliability for consumers in those states and putting downward pressure on electricity prices.

“We are leaning into the acceleration of the energy transition to ensure we keep the lights on, drive down wholesale electricity prices and reduce emissions.” 

VNI West will continue to progress through RIT-T, which is expected to be completed by early 2023. All stakeholders, including community members, are encouraged to provide written submissions on the PADR, including comments on the inputs, analysis, and preferred options presented within the report. 

Over the next six weeks, AVP and Transgrid will undertake a suite of consultations before submissions on the PADR close to ensure the rationale for, and benefits of, the project are clearly understood, and to facilitate early stakeholder, community and Traditional Owner input on potential social and cultural considerations.

AEMO Victorian Planning Group Manager, Nicola Falcon, said “VNI West will help unlock and share geographically and technologically diverse clean, low-cost renewables, including from renewable energy zones in Victoria and New South Wales.

“Allowing more renewables into the power system and utilising better access to deep storage from Snowy 2.0 will reduce carbon emissions and improve the reliability and security of electricity supply as ageing coal power stations close.

“AVP and Transgrid recognise the vital role that communities and impacted landholders have in the planning and delivery of major transmission infrastructure projects. Both parties are dedicated to continuously improving engagement practices.”

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