Transgrid, the transmission network owner in the Australian state of New South Wales, has started building its section of the AUD 2.3 billion ($1.64 billion) Project EnergyConnect. The high-voltage electricity transmission interconnector will link power grids across three states, unlocking gigawatts of planned renewables.
Transgrid has confirmed that work has begun on the New South Wales section of the 900-kilometer Project EnergyConnect, which will link the grids of New South Wales, South Australia, and Victoria, while supporting the development of new wind, solar and energy storage projects.
Project EnergyConnect, a joint venture between Transgrid and South Australian network operator ElectraNet, will link Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, to Robertstown, South Australia. It will also include an additional “spur” link in northwestern Victoria. The interconnector will provide 800 MW of nominal transfer capacity in both directions and is expected to unlock about 5.3 GW of new renewable energy projects.
The project is a critical link in the National Electricity Market (NEM), with proponents claiming it will enhance power system security. Transgrid CEO Brett Redman said the project “will help deliver the grid of the future.” He also said the project, Australia’s biggest electricity interconnector to date, will increase wholesale electricity competition and help drive down electricity prices.
ElectraNet Interim Chief Executive Rainer Korte said the project will improve energy security in all states, while accelerating the transition to a grid based around wind, solar and storage.
“EnergyConnect is a landmark project of national significance that will enable more renewable energy and improve the affordability, reliability, and security of electricity supply,” he said.
Project EnergyConnect will involve the installation of more than 9,000 kilometers of cabling, and the erection of 1,500 new transmission towers, using more than 30,000 tons of steel. Construction of the eastern portion of the project is expected to start in 2023, with the full project set for completion by 2024.