Energy Networks Australia (ENA) has welcomed the Australian Energy Regulator’s (AER) final approval of Project EnergyConnect which will link the New South Wales and South Australian electricity grids.
The AER’s announcement coincided with confirmation from the board of TransGrid that it would invest $1.83 billion to construct the NSW side of the project. SA project partner ElectraNet will consider its final investment decision in coming days.
EnergyConnect will deliver a new 330kv electricity transmission connection between SA and NSW, with a link to north west Victoria.
ENA CEO Andrew Dillon said the much-needed interconnector had only been made possible by significant investment support from the Australian Government’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC).
“This commitment from the CEFC of a $295 million hybrid instrument has enabled TransGrid to manage financeability issues that threatened its capacity to proceed,” he said.
“The CEFC support is very welcome, but if the regulatory regime was delivering reasonable returns for major projects like this, it wouldn’t have been necessary.’’
Mr Dillon said the benefits for customers and the electricity system from EnergyConnect were significant.
“This project is essential to ensure the security and reliability of the grid so it can support increasing renewable energy connections across South Australia and NSW,” he said.
“By enabling new renewable electricity generation, EnergyConnect will reduce wholesale electricity prices, with the net benefit for the average customer being an annual bill saving of about $64 in NSW and $100 in South Australia.”