NSW and SA interconnector opportunity bigger than previously thought

interconnector ElectraNet

Bill reductions are just one of the major benefits outlined in a final report into building a new interconnector between New South Wales and South Australia, which has been publicly released by ElectraNet today.

ElectraNet chief executive Steve Masters said since the release of the project’s draft report in June 2018, further modelling has found that the benefits to customers of building an interconnector between South Australia and New South Wales is expected to be even greater than originally identified.

“The latest independent modelling has found that a typical residential power bill in South Australia would reduce by about $66 per year while small business customers would receive an annual saving of $132,” Mr Masters said.

“Residential customers in New South Wales would benefit from a $30 annual bill reduction and small businesses would receive savings of $71 each year.

“It’s not just bill payers who would benefit from the project, there are also significant benefits to state and federal economies and the national energy grid.

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“The new interconnector would also lower wholesale electricity costs in both states, improve network and energy security, and support Australia’s energy transformation towards a low carbon emissions future.”

The project is subject to obtaining all necessary approvals, including those required from the Australian Energy Regulator.

If approved, the interconnector would be built in partnership between South Australian transmission network owner and manager ElectraNet and TransGrid, operator and manager of New South Wales’ main high voltage transmission network.

The interconnector would follow a 900km route between Robertstown in South Australia and Wagga Wagga via Buronga in New South Wales, with a small connection to Red Cliffs in northwest Victoria.

Independent modelling estimates the project would generate more than 1000 jobs across both states during construction of the interconnector.

ElectraNet and TransGrid have also today jointly announced the interconnector project’s official name – Project EnergyConnect. A dedicated project website has gone live today to provide helpful information to stakeholders and the wider community and encourage engagement with the project.

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“Undertaking an energy project of this significance is an exciting prospect and we’re confident our expertise and experience will ensure Project EnergyConnect can be successfully delivered,” Mr Masters said.

“ElectraNet has been conducting pre-approval works which have been made possible through South Australian Government funding and this has put us in a good position to start works as quickly as possible should Project EnergyConnect be approved.

“We look forward to receiving the regulator’s final determination, which we anticipate will occur around the middle of this year.”

TransGrid chief executive officer Paul Italiano said Project EnergyConnect would play a key role in delivering energy security and better consumer outcomes in both SA and NSW.

“Project EnergyConnect will be a key plank in developing a more connected National Electricity Market, with significant benefits through access to more energy supply and increased competition in the market,” Mr Italiano said.

“As the provider of an essential service TransGrid recognises that we have an obligation to meet community expectations around safe, secure and reliable power at the lowest possible cost.”