Power lines in Victoria

The licence would allow the utility to plan, design and build transmission infrastructure within its current distribution network in Victoria.

Powercor said introducing competition would help to deliver lower costs and faster connections for major projects, such as solar and wind farms, if granted a transmission licence.

The Victorian-based network has applied to the Essential Services Commission (ESC) for a licence that would allow it to design, plan and build transmission infrastructure within its current distribution footprint across western, central and northern parts of the state.

Powercor already owns and operates an electricity distribution network that employs 2,064 people, including 726 in the field work force, and moves power to 922,000 customers across 64 per cent of Victoria.

Powercor’s Chief Executive Officer, Tim Rourke, said a new transmission provider would provide major businesses and renewable energy proponents more choice when it comes to connecting to Victoria’s electricity grid.

“An additional provider and operator in the market will support more investment, creating the competition needed to significantly drive down transmission connection costs and reduce delivery timelines for people wanting to invest in our state and create jobs in our regional communities.

“We will be the only provider to offer a full in-house service, from design and planning to construction and maintenance, across both distribution and transmission in western Victoria.

“We are already one of the lowest cost distributors and this will be mirrored within our transmission group,” Mr Rourke said.

If granted the licence, Powercor will deliver transmission infrastructure, including new terminal stations and 220kV powerlines, to connect customer-related projects to the grid. 

Projects would include large-scale solar and wind generation, battery storage, data centres and commercial and industrial businesses. It will not be delivering large transmission line corridors.

Powercor’s distribution network already supports more than 2,625MW of large-scale renewable power and is home to four of Victoria’s six renewable energy zones.

“Faster transmission connections and creating more capacity is essential to supporting Victoria achieve its target of delivering 65 per cent renewable generation by 2030 and unlocking more than 10,000MW of capacity within our state’s designated renewable energy zones,” Mr Rourke said.

“Our entry into the transmission market would provide the extra market capability the industry needs to support more renewables and commercial connections to the grid.”

The ESC will be consulting with communities and stakeholders as it reviews Powercor’s application.

Powercor will host a webinar to provide customers and stakeholders more information about its transmission licence application on Thursday, 16 May at 12pm. To register, visit www.powercor.com.au/transmission

Image: https://www.shutterstock.com/g/Colin+N+Perkel

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