The Federal Government has committed to the conditional funding of major renewable and transmission projects – including the Marinus and Kerang links – in Victoria, New South Wales, and Tasmania from its $20 billion Rewiring the Nation plan.
The new commitments include a $75 million investment to fast-track the Marinus Link project, a $1.5 billion loan for Victorian Renewable Energy Zones (REZ), and a $750 million concessional loan for the Victoria-New South Wales Interconnector (VNI West) KerangLink.
Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, said the conditional funding would strengthen investment and growth in Australia’s future energy grid.
“Rewiring the Nation has always been about jobs in new energy industries, delivering cleaner, cheaper and more secure energy, and bringing down emissions – today it begins doing just that,” Mr Albanese said.
“An electricity grid built for the 21st century is absolutely critical, but until the election in May there was no plan to deliver, let alone to do so at lowest cost for consumers.”
The significant investment in transmission infrastructure has been celebrated by Energy Networks Australia CEO, Andrew Dillion, who said the project would deliver more secure and reliable access to renewable energy sources.
“Australia is working towards a net zero energy grid but is hampered by a lack of transmission infrastructure. These new links are key steps towards a 21st Century renewable energy grid,’’ Mr Dillon said.
“Network investment is critical to enable the most affordable transition to a net zero energy system.”
The Federal Government has agreed to fast-track Victorian Renewable Energy Zones (REZ) and offshore wind development with $1.5 billion of concessional funding for REZ’s and offshore wind projects.
In addition, a concessional loan of $750 million will be allocated toward the Victoria-New South Wales Interconnector (VNI West) KerangLink.
Promising 4,000MW of new power generation, VNI-West KerangLink will support more than 2,000 direct jobs during construction and generate $1.8 billion in net market benefits.
Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews, said the investment acknowledged Victoria’s nation-leading emissions reduction efforts.
“Victoria has cut emissions by more than any other state, tripled the amount of renewable energy and created thousands of jobs. We’re not just talking about climate action – we’re getting on with it.
“All of this means more jobs, cleaner energy and cheaper power bills for Victorians.”
The Federal Government has committed $75 million from its Rewiring the Nation plan, and signed a partnership with the Tasmanian Government to jointly fund the ambitious Marinus Link project.
Construction will see more than 255km of undersea transmission cable delivering renewable energy generation and storage for the mainland through Tasmania’s Battery of the Nation projects.
The project comprises two under-sea transmission cables connecting Tasmania and Victoria, promising 1,400 jobs in Tasmania during peak construction, 1,400 jobs in Victoria, and up to $4.5 billion in positive net market benefits, including to electricity users.
The Partnership will supercharge investment in Battery of the Nation, which is expected to deliver up to 670 direct jobs across Tasmania in a letter of intent that includes:
- Access to a concessional loan from Rewiring the Nation, through the Clean Energy Finance Corporation for approximately 80 per cent of the project costs of Marinus Link, with the additional 20 per cent to be an equity investment shared equally between the Commonwealth, Victoria and Tasmania to get this critical project off the ground
- Up to $1 billion of low-cost debt from Rewiring the Nation for Tasmania’s Battery of the Nation projects, including Tarraleah Power Station redevelopment and Lake Cethana Pumped Hydro
- Low-cost debt to link Cressy, Burnie, Sheffield, Staverton and Hampshire in Tasmania, known as the North West Transmission Developments (NWTD), which will increase the capacity of the network in Tasmania
The joint-commitment has been welcomed by Marinus Link’s major stakeholders, including Hydro Tasmania and the Marinus Link organisation.
Marinus Link CEO, Bess Clark, said at 1500MW, Marinus Link has about three times the capacity of the existing Basslink interconnector, and equivalent capacity to the former Hazelwood power station in Victoria, able to supply over 1.5 million Australian homes with electricity.
“The project has been identified by the market operator as urgently required and today’s announcement provides the commercial framework to see the project progress through to operation,” Ms Clark said.
“Marinus Link will ensure long-term energy security and provide Tasmanians with a stronger, more resilient grid. Marinus Link will allow Tasmania’s capacity-rich hydro generation to be better utilised, alongside new wind and solar energy.”
Hydro Tasmania CEO, Ian Brooksbank, said his organisation welcomed the new commitment, which will harness Tasmania’s abundant natural resources.
“Hydro Tasmania welcomes today’s announcement of a new partnership between the Tasmanian and Federal Government to back progressing Tasmania’s renewable energy ambitions through Marinus Link and Battery of the Nation,” a Hydro Tasmania spokesperson said.
Marinus Link involves approximately 255km of undersea High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) cable and approximately 90km of underground HVDC cable.
It will also include converter stations in Tasmania and Victoria, and approximately 240km of supporting High Voltage Alternating Current (HVAC) transmission in North West Tasmania, known as the North West Transmission Developments.