Governments unite on $7.8 billion transmission investment


The Commonwealth and New South Wales (NSW) governments have announced a $7.8 billion joint-funding deal to build critical infrastructure needed to connect the state’s planned renewable energy zones (REZs) and the 2 GW Snowy 2.0 pumped hydro project to the electricity grid.

The package is funded by $4.7 billion from the federal government’s $20 billion Rewiring the Nation program and $3.1 billion from the NSW Transmission Acceleration Facility.

The joint $7.8 billion deal will back eight transmission and REZ projects including the HumeLink project which will reinforce the transmission network in southern NSW and is deemed essential for the success of the federal government’s 2 GW Snowy 2.0 pumped hydro project.

The VNI West interconnector, which would link northwest Victoria and southeast NSW, is also on the list for funding.

Other projects included are the Sydney Ring – Hunter Transmission Project, Sydney Ring – Southern Sydney Ring; and the Central-West Orana, Hunter-Central Coast and South-West REZs.

NSW Treasurer and Energy Minister Matt Kean said the funding deal would unlock $32 billion worth of private sector investment in transmission and generate thousands of jobs in the renewable energy sector.

NSW Treasurer and Energy Minister Matt Kean.

Image: Matt Kean

“This investment will support the delivery of our Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap through fast-tracking the development of REZs and transmission infrastructure,” Kean said.

“It’ll support the delivery of 3,900 jobs here in NSW and it will unlock the opportunity to deliver $32 billion worth of private capital that will deliver new generation, storage and firming over the next decade.

“This is an absolute game changer.”

Transgrid Chief Executive Officer Brett Redman said the funding package would allow the network operator to bundle key transmission projects into a single continuous construction program, saving on both time and costs.

“We’re facing increasingly tough global competition for critical resources and this funding enables considerable efficiencies to be gained through combined procurement of materials and secure pipeline opportunities for workers across multiple projects,” he said.

Redman said bundling HumeLink, VNI West and the EnergyConnect project together will reduce capital expenditure by up to $500 million, through savings in procurement, labour and avoided inflation costs.

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