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Transgrid has modified the preferred route for its VNI West project in response to feedback from recent consultations.

The Preferred Route Report outlines a significant change to move the proposed transmission line further away from Moulamein, extending the buffer for the township to nearly 6km.

Transgrid VNI West Project Director, Colin Mayer, said, “Transgrid is committed to working with the local community and landowners to minimise impacts and ensure the successful planning and delivery of this critical transmission infrastructure to enable Australia’s clean energy future.

“Transgrid released a Draft Route Report in January 2024 outlining four options, and staged a series of community meetings, information sessions and pop-up stalls during February and March to obtain feedback from the local community. In addition to verbal feedback, we received 48 written submissions.

“The proximity of the preferred route to the Moulamein township was consistently raised as a concern by members of the community as well as potential impacts on agriculture and biodiversity.

“We have listened and acted in direct response to this feedback, making a significant change to the preferred route around Moulamein to reduce impacts on the local community, landowners, agriculture and the environment,” Mr Mayer said.

Transgrid said the changes to the preferred route are designed to:

  • Move the preferred route further north of the Moulamein township, extending the buffer to nearly 6km and improving visual amenity
  • Reduce potential impacts on irrigated agricultural farming operations
  • Improve environmental outcomes particularly for Billabong Creek and Moores Creek
  • Decrease the number of affected landowners from 12 to five in this section of the alignment

The updated Preferred Route Report also:

  • Modifies a section of the transmission line to the west of the Cobb Highway at Wanganella, shortening its length and moving it further away from residential properties to the south of Wanganella-Moulamein Road
  • Widens the preferred route by up to three kilometres at the eastern end near Dinawan to allow flexibility to find a pathway for the transmission line through future renewable energy developments
  • Maintains a ‘bubble’ up to 10 kilometres wide at the southern end near the Murray River at Cobramunga to allow discussions to continue with Transmission Company Victoria to determine a specific crossing point.

“We will continue to work with community members, landowners and key stakeholders as we refine the preferred route and further minimise agricultural, environmental, economic and social impacts,” Mr Mayer said.

Detailed studies to assess environmental and social impacts will be undertaken as part of the formal environmental assessment and approvals process.

VNI West is being jointly developed with Transmission Company Victoria and is designed to connect EnergyConnect in New South Wales at the Dinawan substation with the Western Renewables Link in Victoria at the Bulgana substation.

The project is also designed to increase capacity for energy sharing, improving reliability and security of electricity supply for both states.

The Preferred Route Report can be accessed here: https://www.transgrid.com.au/media/5whhsuo2/vni-west-preferred-route-report-march-2024.pdf

Featured image: Transgrid carries out community consultations. Courtesy of Transgrid.

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