EnergyConnect


Supporting changes in the National Electricity Market

The Australian energy landscape is undergoing significant change with increased focus on new sources of energy generation. To support this change and growth in the energy market, TransGrid has partnered with ElectraNet (South Australia’s electricity transmission operator) to deliver one of the nation’s largest energy infrastructure projects, EnergyConnect..

What is EnergyConnect?

EnergyConnect is a new 900 kilometre transmission line which will run from Wagga Wagga in NSW to Robertstown in SA, with a connection to Red Cliffs, in Victoria. TransGrid is delivering the NSW section of the project. 

The project includes construction of and upgrades to supporting infrastructure, such as substations, access tracks and roads, and laydown/staging areas, along the route of the transmission line. 

EnergyConnect is a key element of the Australian Energy Market Operator’s Integrated System Plan and the New South Wales Government has declared it Critical State Significant Infrastructure. 

Why is the project needed? 

The Australian energy landscape is transforming with an increased focus on low-emission renewable energy sources. At the same time, consumers are demanding lower power bills and without reducing energy security and reliability. To connect Australian communities and businesses to these lower-cost new energy sources, the national electricity grid needs to evolve.

What is happening now? 

The EIS for the NSW-Western Section has been completed and will be on exhibition throughout November 2020. For further information about the EIS please refer to the Environmental & planning approvals and the Community engagement sections below. 

The final Contingent Project Application (CPA) has been submitted to the Australian Energy Regulator with the application currently open for stakeholder submissions. For further information about the CPA please refer to the Regulatory Approvals section below.

  • Rationale and benefits

    A number of contributing factors are driving the evolution of the energy market to low-emission renewable energy, including: 

    • increased demand on supply as coal-fired plants close

    • government commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

    • consumer pressure for lower energy prices

    • demand for a more reliable energy supply. 

    EnergyConnect will deliver the infrastructure required to support this transition by connecting the energy grids of NSW, SA and Victoria. This connection enables the flow of electricity in both directions between NSW and SA for the first time in Australia’s history, as well as expanding existing transmission capacity between NSW and Victoria. These connections will allow Australian communities and business to benefit from an expanded wholesale electricity market across the three states.

    EnergyConnect is expected to provide around 1500 jobs and deliver an economic benefit to NSW of $4 billion. Benefits include:

    • increased regional economic activity 

    • increased renewable energy generation potential

    • increased job opportunities

    • lower power prices

    • a more secure and reliable energy supply.


  • Community engagement

    The project team has been actively engaging with landholders, the broader community and key stakeholders throughout the planning phase of the project and has obtained valuable feedback and local knowledge.

    A key milestone in the planning and approvals process is the completion of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the NSW-Western Section around Wentworth and Buronga. The EIS will soon be on public exhibition on the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment's (DPIE) Planning Portal

    To support community engagement, an interactive EIS has been developed and the project team will hold community information sessions to provide details about the EIS and submission process. Technical specialists will attend the sessions to answer specific questions about content in the EIS and provide information about the project. A COVID-19 Safety Plan will be in place for each location. 

    ​Buronga:
    ​Wednesday, 4 November
    Buronga Midway Centre
    Session 1: 8:00am - 11:00am
    Session 2: 4:30pm - 7:30pm
    Wentworth:
    ​Thursday, 5 November 
    Visitor Information Centre (Memorial Room)
    Session 1: 8:00am - 11:00am
    Session 2: 4:30pm - 7:30pm

    TransGrid is committed to open and transparent communication and will continue to engage with the community throughout the life of the project. The project team is planning to hold another round of community information sessions throughout November 2020 between Balranald and Wagga Wagga to provide updates on the NSW-Eastern Section of the project.  

    To speak to a project representative phone 1800 49 06 66, or email pec@transgrid.com.au.  


  • Regulatory approvals

    EnergyConnect reached an important milestone in the regulatory approvals process with the submission of final contingent project applications to the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) on September 30, 2020. 

    Contingent project applications outline the amount of revenue network businesses are seeking in order to deliver a project. TransGrid is committed to delivering the project at the lowest possible cost with the greatest benefit to energy consumers.  

    Stakeholder consultation on the contingent project applications is open and submissions are invited. The AER is expected to make a final decision by the end of the year. 

    To be given final investment approval, EnergyConnect must demonstrate benefits to consumers using a three-part market benefits test (Regulatory Investment Test – Transmission or RIT-T). The RIT-T is a rigorous cost-benefit analysis that transmission businesses must undertake and consult on before making investments of more than $6 million. 

    Through the RIT-T process all network and non-network solution options from a technical and economic perspective were assessed by: 

    • informing stakeholders of investment need and proposed options
    • testing the market for alternative and more efficient solutions
    • explaining to stakeholders the basis on which the preferred option was selected.

    The AER approved the RIT-T in January 2020. The RIT-T process enables the AER to analyse proposals to ensure they support affordable and reliable energy for Australian consumers. 


  • Environmental and planning approvals

    The NSW Minister for Planning and Public Spaces declared the NSW section of EnergyConnect as Critical State Significant Infrastructure (CSSI) in August 2019. Under the NSW Environment Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act), all Critical State Significant Infrastructure applications are required to go through a comprehensive assessment process with extensive community involvement.

    The assessment process includes:

    • Initial project scoping which includes early consultation and the development of a Scoping Report to be submitted to The Department of Planning, Industry & Environment (DPIE). The initial proposal will be assessed and the NSW Planning Secretary will issue the environmental assessment requirements (SEARs) 
    • Environmental impact assessment includes conducting studies on potential economic, environmental and social impacts that are then documented in an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) 
    • EIS exhibition and consultation provides the community an opportunity to learn more about the project and provide feedback via submissions to DPIE
    • Assessment report will be developed by DPIE and will take into account the submissions received. It may include requests for further community engagement and recommended conditions of approval
    • Project determination will be made by the Minister for Planning based on the merits of the project against the matters set out in the EP&A Act. 

    More detail about the NSW assessment process can be found at the NSW Planning Portal.

    The NSW section of EnergyConnect will be assessed in two sections, with the current status and relevant documentation including Scoping Reports and SEARs available online: 

    NSW-Western Section, being from the SA/NSW border to Buronga through to the NSW/Vic border

    NSW-Eastern Section, being from Buronga to Wagga Wagga

    This project has been determined as a controlled action under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) and will be assessed under the bilateral agreement between the NSW and Commonwealth Governments. Details of the referral determination can be found by searching ‘EnergyConnect’ on the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment’s Referrals List Portal.


  • Key dates
    ​Preliminary investigations and project scoping
    ​From 2018
    ​Community and landowner consultation
    ​From 2019
    ​Project approvals
    ​From early 2020 - mid 2021
    ​Construction 
    ​From late 2021
    ​Project commissioning
    From 2023

  • Online resources
  • Contact us
    Toll-free phone number: 1800 49 06 66
    Email: pec@transgrid.com.au