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 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 has already taken action to ensure the timely delivery of a number of AEMO’s recommended transmission projects, having jointly underwritten with New South Wales early works for the Queensland – New South Wales Interconnector (QNI) upgrade. The Australian Government, through its Energy Agreement with New South Wales, is also committed to underwrite the Central West (Orana) Renewable Energy Zone and early works for the HumeLink interconnector.
The Australian Government is also partnering with the Tasmanian Government to deliver Marinus Link, a new transmission interconnector, designed to provide an additional 1200 megawatts of capacity between Tasmania and the mainland. The Commonwealth has provided a $56 million contribution to help take Marinus Link from feasibility stage to a final investment decision.
The Marinus Link would allow over 400 megawatts of spare generation capacity to be transmitted from Tasmania to Victoria which, due to limited capacity of the existing interconnector, is currently unavailable. It will also provide the extra capacity needed to expand Tasmania’s pumped hydro capacity through the Battery of the Nation project and unlock a pipeline of renewable energy investment across Tasmania.