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Two key construction partners have been selected by Transgrid to deliver the proposed HumeLink project, designed to help secure energy supply for millions of Australians.

Transgrid has awarded $2.9 billion in contracts to two Tier 1 delivery partners with strong experience in delivering infrastructure projects in regional New South Wales:

  • HumeLink East: ACCIONA and GenusPlus Group Ltd (JV)
  • HumeLink West: UGL and CPB Contractors (JV)

Transgrid Chief Executive Officer, Brett Redman, said, “HumeLink is a vital link in the National Electricity Market, which will reinforce and support the critical southern network of New South Wales and Victoria. A secure national electricity grid is dependent on the acceleration of major transmission projects needed to realise the state and federal governments’ vision for Australia’s clean energy future.”

Subject to the Australian Energy Regulator’s revenue determination and completion of finance arrangements, the delivery of HumeLink will involve the construction of a 385km route in two sections (east and west) including new transmission lines and new or upgraded infrastructure at four substation locations.

The contracts are structured in two stages, with early works to begin immediately and finish in mid-2024, including detailed design, investigations, procurement and project mobilisation. 

The second stage of the delivery partner contracts will include the main construction works and commence after all project approvals and the final investment decision is made, which is expected to occur in mid-2024.

Mr Redman said, “HumeLink will provide substantial opportunities for jobs and suppliers at regional and national level. It represents a once-in-a-generation investment in the nation’s energy future and is expected to deliver more than $500 million in net benefits for Australians.

“We have consulted widely with participants in the domestic and international construction markets to ensure the achievement of long-term sustainable outcomes to benefit electricity consumers and support jobs, training and investment in communities in regional and rural New South Wales.”

Transgrid also acknowledges the sensitivities of communities and landowners given the scale of this project and have therefore been rigorous to ensure that:

  • Significant community, stakeholder and consumer representative engagement has been undertaken and the most beneficial route that appropriately balances cost, environmental impacts and amenity impacts for local communities has been selected
  • Every practicable opportunity has been considered to reduce the cost to consumers, including embedding innovation in the design and technical solutions to deliver the most cost-efficient outcome, locking in long-lead equipment on a program basis to reduce cost and time and engaging reputable delivery partners via a competitive process
  • The contracting model aligns Transgrid’s objectives with those of the delivery partners and consumers, with in-built incentives to deliver the HumeLink project at the lowest cost

CIMIC Group Executive Chairman, Juan Santamaria, said, “We are pleased to be chosen to deliver the initial works for the western section of HumeLink. The project will increase the amount of renewable energy that can be delivered across the national electricity grid, delivering reliable and sustainable power. It will also support economic growth and local jobs and skills.”

UGL Managing Director, Doug Moss, said, “UGL is a leader in the design, construction, commissioning, and operation of high voltage energy assets, having installed more than 6,000km of transmission lines and more than 200 substations across Australia. We’re pleased to continue our longstanding relationship with Transgrid and bring our decades of experience to the delivery of this nationally significant project.”

CPB Contractors Managing Director, Jason Spears, said, “As a leader in major infrastructure construction, we bring extensive regional delivery experience to this important project and, as our team work collaboratively with local businesses and communities to maximise the economic benefits this project brings, we’ll also be working with local partners to ensure a positive skills legacy is achieved for the area.”

CEO of ACCIONA Australia and New Zealand, Bede Noonan, said, “ACCIONA has been delivering complex and sustainable projects to enhance the lives of Australians for over 100 years. And we are delighted we are continuing to do so with a project that will not only expand the capacity of the electricity network in southern NSW, bringing greater reliability and affordability for households, but also bolster the integration of renewable energy into the grid.”

GenusPlus Group Managing Director David Riches welcomed the opportunity to play an important role in this nation building project.

“We are delighted to be selected to deliver HumeLink East, alongside our joint venture partner. Together we will support Transgrid as Genus continues to grow its national footprint,” Mr Riches said.

“We very much value the relationship we have forged with Transgrid and look forward to building on this into the future.”

Construction is well underway on EnergyConnect, which will facilitate the connection of new renewables in the state’s south-west and support energy sharing with South Australia and Victoria. 

Community consultation and planning is continuing on VNI West, another significant interconnector, which will support greater sharing with Victoria and connect with EnergyConnect at Gugaa, near Wagga Wagga.

“Transgrid and its delivery partners will continue to engage with landowners, communities and stakeholders on HumeLink and VNI West and invest in local regions to enhance job, education and training opportunities and help boost local economies,” Mr Redman said.

Feature image: Transgrid and partners meet at site. Image credit: Transgrid.

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