The Victorian Government is making amendments to the National Electricity (Victoria) Act 2005, to fast-track urgent upgrades to the energy transmission network.
The new legislation that will fast-track priority projects like grid-scale batteries and transmission upgrades in order to unlock renewable projects and improve the reliability of Victoria’s energy supply.
These reforms were implemented to allow the Victorian Government to override the “complex and outdated national regulatory regime”, which has been blamed for excessive delays in delivering transmission projects.
Victorian Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily D’Ambrosio, said, “The existing national energy laws have let us down – they have failed to drive investment in our electricity system or provide a 21st century grid for all Victorians.
“These reforms will help keep our energy system resilient as we face hotter summers, longer bushfire seasons, and increasingly unreliable coal-powered generators.
“We continue to pressure the Commonwealth, as Chair of the Energy Council, for changes to the national market rules so Victorian households and businesses are not unfairly disadvantaged when it comes to accessing more reliable, cleaner and cheaper power.”
These changes – to be used in close consultation with the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) – will focus on projects that deliver clear benefits to consumers, while increasing our capacity to import electricity during periods of peak demand.
As a first step to secure additional transmission capacity, the Victorian Government will ask AEMO to call for expressions of interest to increase the capacity of the Victoria-New South Wales Interconnector.
The vulnerability of the national energy network has been highlighted recently, with each of Victoria, New South Wales, and South Australia narrowly avoiding load-shedding in late January.
Extreme heat has created unprecedented demand for electricity while ageing, coal-fired generators repeatedly let Victoria down. The transmission system is also vulnerable to bushfires and severe weather events, like the mini-tornado that brought down the Heywood interconnector this summer.
These reforms align with the Victorian Government’s focus on renewable investments, which includes the addition of more than 1200MW of renewable energy and the Solar Homes program, which will see solar panels, solar hot water or solar batteries rolled out to 770,000 Victorian households over the next 10 years.