ElectraNet plots $2 billion transmission spend to support demand growth


With forecasts pointing to unprecedented electricity demand growth in South Australia, ElectraNet has identified four potential transmission network development options designed to ensure it has the capacity to meet the growing demand and support the state’s ongoing transition to a clean energy future.

With South Australia on track to reach 100% net renewables before the state government’s 2030 target date, ElectraNet’s latest Transmission Annual Planning Report (TAPR) reveals that interest in large new load connections to the South Australian electricity transmission system has risen sharply with applicants looking to take advantage of low-cost electricity from renewable sources.

ElectraNet Chief Executive Officer Simon Emms said the state is “witnessing a level of interest from large new and diverse electricity loads not seen in half a century.”

“We are experiencing an unprecedented level of enquiries and applications from renewable energy generators, battery providers and customers wanting to connect to the grid to access and provide low-emission electricity,” he said.

“The load enquiries total almost 2,000 MW of new demand, which is massive, relative to the state’s current maximum electricity demand level of approximately 3,300 MW.”

The mining sector, hydrogen industry, data centres and processing facilities are among the key drivers behind the high-demand growth forecasts.

Widespread adoption of electric vehicles, electrified residential and commercial developments, and increased connections of residential battery energy storage systems are also predicted to increase demand on the network with Emms declaring transmission infrastructure will be critical to ensuring the transition to 100% renewables.

“To ensure the infrastructure is available when required, now is the time to commence assessing the feasibility of further strategic investments to meet the state’s forecast clean energy needs,” he said.

Project options to meet future supply requirements in South Australia.

Image: ElectraNet

ElectraNet has identified four priority project options that “could deliver benefits if development occurs within approximately five years.”

These include the construction of high-capacity double-circuit twin conductor lines in the state’s mid-north. The new transmission infrastructure project, valued at approximately $1.5 billion, would link Cultana, near Whyalla, to Bundey in Adelaide’s north.

ElectraNet said this would enable higher transfers of low-cost renewable energy from the mid-north to the Adelaide metropolitan load centre, unlocking potential for increased connection of renewables in the Mid North, Riverland and Northern renewable energy zones.

ElectraNet has also outlined a $700 million plan to construct a new double-circuit line stretching from Bundey to Para in Adelaide’s northeast or to a new site between Parafield Gardens West and Torrens Island in the city’s northwest.

Other proposed projects include an estimated $60 million to string the vacant 275 kV circuit between Tailem Bend and Tungkillo in the state’s southeast, and an estimated $90 million to upgrade the operating voltage of the new Cultana to Yadnarie transmission lines from 132 kV to 275 kV.

ElectraNet said it anticipates work on the four projects would commence in the mid-2020s, before becoming operational before the end of the decade.

The company is now seeking feedback from interested stakeholders on the demand forecasts, renewable energy sources and network development options. The proposed projects remain subject to the Australian Energy Regulator’s approval process.

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