Snowy River dam

The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) has approved funding for Stage 1 of Transgrid’s HumeLink Project connecting Wagga Wagga, Bannaby and Maragle in one of New South Wales’ largest energy infrastructure undertakings.

The proposed $322 million HumeLink Project will deliver 360km of 500kV transmission line, reinforcing the eastern seaboard transmission network and unlocking the full capacity of the Snowy Hydro 2.0 project, promising approximately $491 million in net benefits.

The funding will be used to conduct early works to reduce project risks and ensure Transgrid maximises efficiencies, to help drive down energy costs to the consumer.

Transgrid has issued an Expression of Interest for key delivery partners to design, install and commission the infrastructure.

Transgrid CEO, Brett Redman, said the project was the next step in delivering a reliable supply of renewable energy.

“The $322 million in capital expenditure represents the next step in bringing more affordable, reliable and renewable energy to the grid as we deliver a next-generation transmission capability for NSW and the National Electricity Market,” Mr Redman said.

“This funding agreement is an indicator of the confidence the Regulator has in the HumeLink Project, which will reinforce the backbone of the transmission network for the eastern seaboard and unlock the full capacity of the Snowy Hydro 2.0 project.

“Transgrid is building the transmission superhighway which will transform the energy supply for millions of Australians.

“There will be no transition without transmission and we will continue to work closely with the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) and the Federal and State Governments to accelerate this transition, which is dependent on a stronger, more flexible electricity network.”

Transgrid will continue to consult and collaborate with First Nations groups, communities and landowners on HumeLink to refine the project scope and identify investments which can return meaningful benefits to the families and communities living and working near the major project.

These include training and employment opportunities, housing initiatives and the funding of community projects. Transgrid has issued an Expression of Interest for key delivery partners to design, install and commission the infrastructure.

The AER’s decision coincides with the release of Transgrid’s Annual Planning Report (TAPR) which for the first time, projects a shortfall of system strength and inertia to meet system requirements to happen in this decade, as coal-fired generation is retired or moves to more flexible operation.

“Australia’s energy transition is happening right now. The electricity system is transitioning away from coal and towards renewables at a rapid rate, even faster than expected and we are responding to that reality,” Mr Redman said.

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