AusNet tips network upgrade to unlock 1.5 GW of renewables


AusNet has started work on the Mortlake Turn-In project which aims to address network constraints that currently limit how much electricity generators in Victoria’s southwest region can feed into the grid, while also making it easier for new projects to connect to the transmission network.

The work to strengthen the grid is part of the Victorian government’s $540 million Renewable Energy Zone Development Plan which aims to unlock up to 10 GW of new wind, solar and battery energy storage projects across the state.

AusNet Chief Executive Officer David Smales said the Mortlake Turn-In project will improve capacity on the transmission network in the state’s southwest and provide a critical boost to renewables projects that have been impacted by constraints in that part of the network.

“This project has a number of benefits, including addressing network constraints, creating jobs, and providing new renewable generation development opportunities in the longer term,” he said, adding that the project will ensure “we have the transmission network needed to harness the sun and wind from the southwest of Victoria.”

Currently, two 500 kV transmission lines stretch past the Mortlake Terminal Station, located about 50 kilometres northeast of Warrnambool, but only one connects to the station. The Turn-In project will connect the second 500 kV line to the station by upgrading existing equipment.

AusNet said connecting both circuits at the Mortlake Terminal Station will allow a more balanced sharing of power between the two parallel circuits, making the network more stable.

AusNet has been contracted by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) to deliver the project along with its construction partner Consolidated Power Projects Australia.

The Victorian government has forecast that it will need to bring 25 GW of new renewable energy and storage capacity online by 2035 to meet its targets of 65% renewables by 2030 and 95% by 2035.

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