The National Electricity Market’s (NEM) transmission network forms the backbone of our energy system. It transports electricity the long distances from where it is generated to where it is used by consumers in cities, towns and regional communities. It also enhances the reliability of our energy system by diversifying the types and location of energy supply available to keep the lights on.
As our generation mix evolves, we need to make sure our transmission network is fit for purpose. The cost of transmission is borne by consumers. However sensible transmission investments can improve affordability by helping to share reliable generation resources across the NEM, improve wholesale market competition, open renewable energy zones, and connect large scale storage.
The Australian Energy Market Operator’s (AEMO) 2020 Integrated System Plan (ISP), published 30 July 2020, provides a 20-year forecast of the NEM’s energy infrastructure needs. This includes a list of recommended priority transmission projects to keep our system reliable and secure into the future, including the transmission to connect Snowy 2.0.
The Australian Government has worked with jurisdictions to secure reforms that will ensure delivery of AEMO’s recommended transmission projects in a timely manner. This will bring forward necessary transmission investment, at least cost to energy consumers.
The Australian Government is also working with relevant jurisdictions to provide support to facilitate the timely delivery of all AEMO’s priority transmission projects. The Australian Government has announced funding of up to $250 million to support the development of Marinus Link, Project EnergyConnect and VNI West interconnectors, which are all projects identified in the 2020 ISP. This builds on previous commitments through the Memorandum of Understanding - NSW Energy Package with the NSW Government to jointly underwrite early works for the Queensland – NSW Interconnector (QNI) upgrade and the HumeLink project.
On 15 December 2020, the Australian and Tasmanian governments signed the Bilateral State and Emissions Reduction Agreement to deliver the design and approvals phase of Marinus Link. Marinus Link is intended to provide an additional 1500MW of transmission capacity between Tasmania and the mainland. Under the agreement, the Australian Government will contribute a further $93.9 million, in addition to the $56 million already committed. These funds will progress the Marinus Link project towards a financial investment decision in 2024.