Interconnector proposal between SA and NSW to ‘reduce bills’
An electricity interconnector between South Australia and New South Wales worth $1.52 billion will lower power costs and improve network and energy security, the companies involved in the project are predicting.
- If approved, the new interconnector is hoped to be completed by 2022
- South Australia already has an interconnector with Victoria
- Labor says the project will put SA’s generators at risk
The proposal, which is a 900-kilometre link between Robertstown, north-east of Adelaide, and Wagga Wagga, in New South Wales, will run through Buronga, north-east of Mildura.
There will be an additional line between Buronga and Red Cliffs in Victoria, south of Mildura.
The project, which is called Project EnergyConnect, still needs final approval by the Australian Energy Regulator.
Forecasts released by ElectraNet and TransGrid on Wednesday suggested power bills would be reduced by $66 a year for South Australian households and $30 in New South Wales.
According to their report, a new interconnector would further enhance “security of supply for South Australia” and “diverse low-cost renewable generation sources to New South Wales”.
The new interconnector is scheduled to be in place by the time the coal-fired Liddell Power Station is due to retire from the market in New South Wales.
It will provide additional transfer capacity to allow for the sharing of reserves between South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales.
South Australia already has an interconnector with Victoria.
South Australia’s Liberal Government last year announced it would spend $14 million to accelerate the interconnector project on top of its $200 million “interconnection fund” which was announced as part of its wider energy policy ahead of the 2018 State Election.
The interconnector between South Australia and New South Wales will be known as Project EnergyConnect. (Supplied: ElectraNet)
SA needs to be looped into network
SA Energy Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan said South Australia was “at the end [of the] line of the national electricity system”.
“We need to become part of the loop, so interconnection between South Australia and New South Wales would give us much greater flexibility to share demand and supply with two states rather than just one,” he said.
“And also very importantly we will be connected to a state that has more different weather patterns than us, so that our demand and supply is different more often meaning we can economise, optimise and share electricity.”
Opposition energy spokesman Tom Koutsantonis described the proposal as an extension cord to New South Wales which put the future of the state’s generators at risk.
“That’s the question that Premier [Steven] Marshall hasn’t answered, will Pelican Point [Power Station] stay open?” Mr Koutsantonis said.
“Will the Osborne Power Station stay operational? Will we lose generation at Torrens Island because Premier Marshall is insisting on building a 900-megawatt extension cord into New South Wales?”
The report stated the SA Government was underwriting early works and that it and the NSW Government had agreed on a framework of cooperation to expedite the project to be completed by 2022.
ElectraNet chief executive Steve Masters said bill payers were not the only ones set to benefit from the project with “significant benefits to state and federal economies and the national energy grid”.