TransGrid today published its Project Assessment Conclusions Report (PACR) as the final part of the Australian Energy Regulator’s Regulatory Investment Test – Transmission consultation process. The PACR outlines how TransGrid would deliver the new 500kv transmission line which will carry electricity to customers from new generation sources, including the expanded Snowy Hydro scheme.
Acting CEO Brian Salter said TransGrid has demonstrated how the HumeLink project will benefit energy customers and deliver $491 million in net benefits over the assessment period.
“When completed it will increase the amount of electricity that can be delivered to customers in NSW, the ACT and across the National Electricity Market,” said Mr Salter.
HumeLink will also:
- reduce the need for new dispatchable generation investment to meet demand going forward;
- avoid capital costs that would otherwise be required associated with enabling greater integration of renewables in the National Electricity Market (NEM);
- lower the aggregate generator fuel costs required to meet demand in the NEM going forward;
- provide significant ‘competition benefits’ by increasing the efficiency of bidding in the wholesale market;
- help facilitate further reductions of carbon emissions to support achieving Australia’s climate change targets;
- create more than 1000 construction jobs; and
- contribute to regional economic activity generating major benefits for local communities along the route.
HumeLink, like all other major transmission projects, is subject to a market benefits test administered by the Australian Energy Regulator (AER). TransGrid must show the AER that HumeLink will benefit consumers, to be given final regulatory approval.
The regulatory milestone coincides with the initiation of a new approach to TransGrid’s landowner and community engagement, following an analysis of its processes by independent landowner advocate Rod Stowe.
TransGrid commissioned former NSW Commissioner for Fair Trading Rod Stowe earlier this year to prepare an independent report, which included a review of the Community Engagement Plan for HumeLink, the information provided to landowners and meetings with groups of potentially affected landowners.
“We have heard that landowners and the communities in the HumeLink corridor have not been satisfied with the engagement for the project and we take their concerns seriously,” said Mr Salter.
“The Landowner Advocate’s report provides the path forward for a genuine re-set of our processes and we will continue to listen and work respectfully, effectively and transparently with communities as we plan major transmission projects.
“We are committed to implementing all 20 recommendations in the report provided to us by Mr Stowe and this includes the establishment of independent Community Consultative Groups.”
The Community Consultative Groups will provide local communities and landowners with a structured, ongoing forum to provide input about HumeLink and their work will remain independent of TransGrid. Landowners and community members will be able to nominate for participation in the committees from next month and will be selected by an independent Chairperson.
For more information about the project, visit: www.transgrid.com.au/humelink
Michelle Stone 0438 293 917