ElectraNet has officially given the green light to the construction of Project EnergyConnect, the high-voltage electricity transmission interconnector between South Australia and New South Wales.
ElectraNet Chief Executive, Steve Masters, confirmed the company will invest $457.4 million to deliver the South Australian section of the interconnector from Robertstown to the New South Wales border.
The announcement follows TransGrid’s recent commitment to invest $1.8 billion in the interconnector.
South Australian households can expect to receive an average saving of around $100 a year on their electricity bills after the interconnector is energised with even higher savings for small businesses.
There will also be substantial economic benefits from the project’s $2.28 billion investment in critical infrastructure to the National Electricity Market (NEM). This includes 200 new jobs in South Australia during the construction phase of the project.
“Over the past five years ElectraNet has demonstrated through a rigorous assessment process that Project EnergyConnect is good for South Australian and New South Wales customers, and we now look forward to getting on and building it so those benefits can be realised,” Mr Masters said.
“Project EnergyConnect is a landmark project that will drive competition in the wholesale electricity market by connecting more low-cost generation to the national electricity grid and support the ongoing transition to a lower carbon emissions future.
“As the proponent of this project, ElectraNet has left no stone unturned to ensure that this project is a good investment for electricity customers in South Australia and New South Wales.
“We undertook a rigorous cost benefit analysis that has been repeatedly updated to demonstrate this remains the best option for customers as well as supporting the rapid pace of change across the EM.
“At all times, ElectraNet has remained focused on ensuring we deliver this project at the lowest possible cost to all energy customers, while also providing the greatest benefits.”
ElectraNet has undertaken comprehensive stakeholder engagement over the past five years and incorporated that feedback into the development of the project.
“Project EnergyConnect is a transformational infrastructure project of national significance that will deliver the longest transmission line between Australian states,” Mr Masters said.
“This is a fantastic outcome for South Australia and New South Wales, for the whole NEM and for the transition towards greater reliance on renewable energy generation.
“Australia’s national energy network is moving rapidly toward a greater mix of cleaner energy sources. There will be no energy transition without transmission.”
Mr Masters thanked TransGrid, project delivery partner for the New South Wales section, and the South Australian Government for its ongoing support and continued championing of Project EnergyConnect.
In South Australia, Project EnergyConnect’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is currently open for public comment and undergoing assessment by the South Australian Government’s Planning and Land Use Services.
Subject to receiving all necessary environmental approvals, construction is anticipated to start in late 2021 with commissioning underway in 2023.