Gannawarra Shire Council and Murray River Council Local Government Areas have been earmarked by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) for the development of 500kV high voltage transmission lines and terminal stations.
KerangLink, also known as Victoria New South Wales Interconnector West (VNI West) is planned to proceed “as urgently as possible” after the government’s plan to close Australia’s main energy source, coal fired power generation, faster than expected.
AEMO recommended in December 2021 that the Victorian and federal governments proceed with developing VNI West but the need to provide “valuable insurance” to the energy network has ramped up in AEMO’s recent 2022 Integrated Systems Plan, published on June 30.
The proposed project is part way through a Regulatory Infrastructure Test for Transmission (RIT-T) which is a three step economic cost benefit assessment that enables AEMO to identify the best technical solution to meet the network need identified by the integrated system plan, while protecting consumers from paying more than necessary for their electricity.
The route, tower design and layout for the project is yet to be determined. The path northeast from Kerang, then up and over the Murray, may leave some landowners nervously waiting to see if they will be impacted by the project.
The assessment and consultation on potential route alignments will occur after the RIT-T process has concluded, and if the project is approved to proceed to the next phase of development.
If the RIT-T confirms the VNI West project, AEMO would proceed with early works, including land use planning, detailed engineering design and route development.
Early works would provide an opportunity to engage with and consult community and stakeholders on a range of matters to help inform route selection.
As part of the RIT-T process, AEMO will be publishing a Project Assessment Draft Report (PADR) for VNI West by the end of August 2022. The PADR identifies and seeks feedback on the draft preferred infrastructure investment option.
When the PADR is released, a six-week consultation period with opportunities to seek clarification, ask questions and provide feedback will open. This consultation period will include online forums and a formal submission process.
All stakeholders, including community members are welcome to provide written submissions on the PADR. This feedback will be considered in the subsequent Project Assessment Conclusions Report which will conclude on the final preferred option to deliver the high net market benefits for consumers.
This article appeared in The Koondrook and Barham Bridge Newspaper, 7 July 2022.