TransGrid’s Board today announced it will build the critical electricity transmission project, EnergyConnect, which will save NSW customers $180 million a year and create 1,500 new construction jobs in regional NSW.
TransGrid CEO, Paul Italiano, confirmed the company will invest $1.834 billion to deliver the major, NSW section of EnergyConnect from Wagga Wagga in the State’s south to the South Australian border.
Mr Italiano said: “EnergyConnect is a transformational energy project which will provide net benefits of up to $11.9 billion and save NSW customers $180 million a year, or $64 annually on an average household bill.
“EnergyConnect will be Australia’s biggest electricity interconnector built to date in the National Electricity Market and it will help to accelerate Australia’s energy transition by connecting customers with more renewable generation.
“EnergyConnect will also help to abate an estimated one million tonnes of carbon emissions each year contributing significantly to meeting Australia’s climate change targets.
“Regional NSW will benefit from the creation of 1,500 construction jobs and an injection of more than $250 million in direct project expenditure.
“The project will also contribute a further $4 billion in economic activity for NSW.”
Mr Italiano thanked the South Australian Government for its unwavering support for the project, the Federal Government for the support it has provided via an underwriting agreement with South Australia and through the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and project delivery partner, ElectraNet, for the essential role it has played to advance the project through the regulatory process.
The TransGrid Board’s investment decision came after it was able to partially resolve financeability issues for EnergyConnect, which challenge delivery of major regulated transmission projects in the NEM.
This has been achieved via an agreement between TransGrid and the CEFC on the issue of an innovative $295 million hybrid debt instrument.
Mr Italiano said: “The agreement with the CEFC has been essential to the Board’s final investment decision today and we are thankful to the Corporation for working with us to progress this important project.”
CEFC CEO Ian Learmonth said: “It is significant that the largest single investment the CEFC has made since we began investing will help deliver more renewable energy to Australian consumers by adding such a substantial piece of infrastructure to our electricity grid. We are proud that CEFC finance is supporting this important investment in the grid.”
Work on EnergyConnect is expected to commence by the end of 2021.