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  • Rikki Lambert

NSW approves energy interconnector with South Australia

Lower prices are just the beginning, the New South Wales government claims as it officially approves the 900 kilometre energy interconnector to link South Australia, Victoria and south western NSW to renewable and traditional energy sources.

Whilst work on the 'EnergyConnect' project has been underway since February on the South Australian section, on Wednesday the NSW Treasurer Matt Kean declared the $1.08 billion NSW leg of the project had his state's green light.

“By having these strong connections and batteries in place, more energy will be available to everyone and further improve the grid’s reliability, meaning prices will come down and power bills across the state will be lower.”

The total $2.3 billion EnergyConnect project includes 206 kilometres of new transmission line in South Australia along with a new substation at Bundey and upgrades to the existing Robertstown and Tungkillo substations. Construction in SA is expected to conclude in February 2024.

South Australia's former Marshall Liberal government estimated that the average family would save $100 per annum thanks to the EnergyConnect project.

The NSW government made Wednesday's announcement at the same time it had approved the Waratah 'Super Battery' with 700 megawatt capacity to act as a 'giant shock absorber' so transmission capacity in reserve could be freed up to transfer energy to consumers, and connecting Snowy Hydro 2.0's additional 1,800 megawatt capacity from Victoria into NSW.

The EnergyConnect project will see transmission lines installed from Wagga Wagga to Buronga near the Victorian border, with up to 500 jobs in the construction phase.

In May, previous chair of the Productivity Commission Peter Harris AO said:

“The nation does not need rewiring. Linking big generators by big transmission is not the future of energy in a country with our abundance of widely-distributed renewable resources. Yet the nameplate “Rewiring the Nation” could see federal government's Rewiring the Nation Corporation obliged to subsidise mega transmission projects in the name of reliability. This is likely to repeat the mistakes of past over-investment, when what we need is ever better storage options. The history of government investment honey-pots is that they attract more flies than bees.”


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