Upgrades to the $236 million Queensland and New South Wales Interconnector (QNI) have been completed, with the interconnector set to increase the flow of electricity between the two states and reduce constraints on the transmission network.
The QNI project is part of the Australian Energy Market Operator’s Integrated Systems Plan (ISP) and allows 460MW more power to be transferred into Queensland and 190MW more into New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory when needed.
Transgrid was tasked with upgrading the transmission lines and substations as part of the project.
Transgrid CEO, Brett Redman, said QNI is the first ISP project Transgrid have delivered and is a critical piece of infrastructure to support Australia’s energy transition.
“The interconnector upgrade has come in on time and on budget and will now make a significant difference to the National Electricity Market (NEM),” Mr Redman said.
“Transgrid is leaning into the acceleration of the energy transition by building the major projects which will enable the integration of renewables, increase competition among generators, drive down electricity prices and support the decarbonisation of Australia’s economy.”
The Federal and New South Wales Governments supported the early delivery of QNI through a $102 million joint-underwriting of the project.
New South Wales Treasurer and Minister for Energy Matt Kean welcomed the completion of the project.
“We identified the QNI project as a priority in the New South Wales Transmission Infrastructure Strategy because it supports our vision to provide affordable and reliable energy for New South Wales households,” Mr Kean said.
“We expect this priority project to provide net benefits of $170 million to electricity customers and producers.
“QNI will support the development of Renewable Energy Zones which will be vital to ensuring the future of electricity in New South Wales as coal fired power stations retire.
“New South Wales is leading Australia’s action on climate change and this project is an important step in shifting to cleaner, greener energy and helping us to secure our economic prosperity for decades to come.”
Delivering the project to strengthen transmission
The QNI upgrade involved a range of works including:
- Upgrading 300km of transmission lines
- Replacing 58 towers between Tamworth, Muswellbrook and Liddell power station
- Upgrading substations at Armidale, Dumaresq, Muswellbrook and Tamworth
As part of construction new taller pole structures were put in place to enable the transmission of more energy as new generation comes online.
Technology was also installed at multiple substations to strengthen the transmission network including new capacitor banks, Static Volt Amp Reactive compensators (SVC), transformers and 330kV switch bays.
The capacitor banks provide additional reactive power, while the SVC regulates the reactive power on the grid to keep it stable.
Approximately 150 jobs were created during the project and Transgrid provided community grants to support the work of local not-for-profit groups along the project route.
QNI and another soon to be completed ISP project the Victoria NSW Interconnector (VNI) will support the development of new renewable generation in the state’s energy zones.
These projects are approaching completion as Transgrid builds the 700km New South Wales section of EnergyConnect, from Wagga Wagga to the South Australian border.
Electranet is constructing the South Australian section of the new interconnector from the border to Robertstown.
EnergyConnect will enable the sharing of energy between New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria and support the integration of renewable energy in southern renewable energy zones.
Transgrid is also developing two other actionable ISP projects HumeLink and VNI West Kerang, which together with EnergyConnect will reinforce the southern grid and support cheaper, cleaner energy and the decarbonisation of the nation’s economy.