Transgrid, which operates the New South Wales (NSW) electricity transmission system and is also playing a pivotal role in reshaping Australia’s interstate power network, will invest in batteries and other system security solutions, as well as 2,500 kilometres of new transmission lines as it prepares for a surge in renewable energy and the decline in coal generation.
“There will be no transition without transmission,” Transgrid Chief Executive Officer Brett Redman said in a statement.
“With over 80% of coal-fired capacity in NSW expected to retire and 28 GW of new renewable and storage capacity coming online in the next 10 years, we must urgently accelerate the investment in all areas of the energy transition.”
Transgrid’s existing 13,000km transmission system serves as the backbone of the National Energy Market (NEM), facilitating energy trading with its neighbouring states.
In the System Security Roadmap released on Wednesday, Transgrid outlines its plan to invest $14 billion to build 2,500km of new transmission lines and infrastructure. This includes a $7 billion spend to deliver the EnergyConnect, HumeLink and VNI West projects.
Transgrid said the “energy superhighway” will connect new large-scale renewable energy and storage to the grid, integrate five renewable energy zones, and expand transmission interconnection between regions and states.
The roadmap also reveals an estimated $2.2 billion will be spent on building new system security infrastructure to replace services currently provided by coal generators. The investment will deliver the equivalent of 21 large synchronous condensers.
“As coal generators become less available and retire, and new inverter-based renewables connect to the grid, new sources of system security services are urgently needed,” Transgrid said.
The network operator will also spend $300 million to deliver the “step-change” in analytical and operational capabilities and capacity required to operate an increasingly complex power system.
Transgrid said over the next decade it will invest $160 million to train and strengthen its workforce and $140 million to build new operational technology tools to ensure the secure operation of a “more complex and dynamic power system.”
Transgrid Network Executive General Manager Marie Jordan said the System Security Roadmap outlines the company’s plan to securely operate the grid of the future.
“We’ve spent a lot of time modelling our system and planning for the retirements of all the coal-fired generation making sure that we’re ready to move into a renewable future,” she said.
“We spent an entire year modelling our system with no thermal generation, with 100% variable generation. Now we know what the big picture is and as we go into the retirement of these plants, we aren’t solving it one off – we have a master plan.”
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