‘Renewable energy superhighway’ linking Victoria to NSW kick started by bilateral funding agreement

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The Victoria to NSW Interconnector (VNI) West project will allow more renewable energy to connect to the grid, alleviating congestion and increasing system security and reliability. Underwritten by a bilateral agreement in which the Victorian state and federal government will each provide up to $100 million, the VNI West will deliver an extra 1800 MW of capacity during peak demand periods, allowing Victoria to export 1930 MW to NSW.

Funds from the part agreement will support the first stage of the project,  including the development of a preferred route for the interconnector, known as KerangLink, in a bid to get it up and running by 2027.

Support for the project comes after the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) last year curtailed the output of five large solar farms in the Murray region in reaction to voltage fluctuations in the Victorian and NSW networks.

Victorian Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily D’Ambrosio, said the agreement was a major win for Victoria’s regions, particularly the North West. “KerangLink will be a renewable energy superhighway, creating a wave of new jobs right across the state,” Minister D’Ambrosio said in a statement.

“This project will unlock more wind and solar power in Victoria than ever before, and is crucial action to address climate change,” she added.

Map of credible options for transmission lines between Vic & NSW
Map of credible options for transmission lines between Vic & NSW

AEMO

Earlier this month, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) outlined a $3.5 billion strategy to shore up Victoria’s electricity transmission network and system security as the state accelerates towards the legislated target of 50% renewables by 2030. This VNI West transmission link is expected to play a key role in bringing those plans to fruition.

The project is also expected to support approximately 2,000 direct jobs during construction. Federal Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, Angus Taylor, is confident that in addition to the jobs, the transmission line will put downward pressure on electricity prices and shore up the reliability of the grid.

“The VNI West project will play a crucial role in ensuring Victorians have access to the affordable and reliable electricity they need to power their lives,” Taylor said in a statement. “The Commonwealth Government is now advancing all major priority transmission projects in the Australian Energy Market Operator’s 2020 Integrated System Plan.”

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